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EyeControl Develops Groundbreaking Medical Technology in Israel

EyeControl’s Wearable Device Transforms ICU Communication and Care

When Yoav Tzivoni, a combat soldier seriously wounded in the northern Gaza Strip, awoke after six months in the intensive care unit at the Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital, his first request was for his favorite heavy metal music. This seemingly simple communication was made possible by EyeControl, an innovative wearable device from an Israeli company, enabling patients, including those on ventilators, to communicate via eye gestures.

Michal Finkelstein, product specialist at EyeControl, recounted the moment with excitement. “I was shaking from excitement when the nurse texted and said Yoav is asking for his music!” This marked a significant breakthrough for Tzivoni and his fellow ICU patients who benefit from EyeControl’s capabilities.

EyeControl, a groundbreaking technology, allows patients to communicate with medical staff and family members and listen to recorded messages and music via a bone conduction headset. This device has been instrumental in improving clinical outcomes, preventing cognitive decline, and enhancing the patient and family experience. It is currently being tested in prestigious hospitals worldwide to assess its efficacy in reducing ICU delirium.

Tzivoni’s recovery has been remarkable. Following months of rehabilitation, he is now living in Tel Aviv, attending outpatient therapies, and has rejoined his elite combat unit as a volunteer in charge of logistics. His recovery journey highlights the transformative power of EyeControl.

Sadly, not all patients have had such fortunate outcomes. Tzvika Lavi, a father of three from Eli, succumbed to his injuries after weeks in the ICU. During his hospital stay, EyeControl allowed his family to communicate with him, providing some comfort in his final days. Lavi’s wife appreciated the device’s ability to let him listen to their voices, even on Shabbat, bringing a sense of peace amidst their tragedy.

Dr. Ami Mayo, director of critical care at Assuta Ashdod’s ICU, praised EyeControl’s impact on patient care. “In critical care, we have obstacles in communicating with patients,” he noted, emphasizing the difficulty in monitoring sedation levels. EyeControl helps provide familiar sounds to sedated patients, reducing the risk of delirium and other negative side effects.

EyeControl was initially developed to aid patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, co-founder Or Reitzin saw its potential for broader applications in critical care. “When Or told me about the ALS project, we thought together and realized it could be applied to all patients in the critical care unit,” Dr. Mayo explained.

The company was founded by individuals with personal connections to locked-in syndrome, a condition where patients are fully conscious but unable to move. Co-founders Reitzin, Itai Kornberg, and the late Shai Rishon aimed to create a communication solution for these patients. Today, EyeControl’s applications have expanded significantly, benefiting a wide range of patients, including ICU soldiers.

Interest in EyeControl has grown globally. Supported by the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development fund (BIRD), EyeControl is conducting clinical trials at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Assuta, and Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva. Additional trials funded by the NIH AI program are set to begin at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Recent investments from the European Bank and Google’s AI Fund have propelled EyeControl’s expansion. The device is now in use at various sites in the US, with positive feedback from healthcare providers. “EyeControl provides a very tangible and profound opportunity for families to take an active and meaningful role in patient care,” said Noa Mintz, clinical & business development – US.

Despite its growth, EyeControl remains committed to its core mission of helping patients and their families. Finkelstein shared a poignant moment when Tzivoni’s mother, Yedida, recounted how the device and care at Assuta helped her son recover. “We recorded brachot [blessings] and songs he loved. It was very emotional to hear that after three weeks, he remembered listening to the music we recorded.”

EyeControl’s success story is a testament to innovation in medical technology, offering new hope and improved care for patients worldwide. As CEO Reitzin concludes, “We are honored to be able to support every patient – but especially our soldiers. We are especially honored to help keep the memory of Tzvika Lavi alive through our taking in Itzhar Shay’s Next October Initiative.”

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