USC teams with VSP Global's innovation lab on eyewear wearable pilot


LOS ANGELES - The University of Southern California Center for Body Computing has teamed with VSP Global's innovation lab, The Shop, and the USC Roski Eye Institute to take wearable health for the first time to the eyes. The pilot study, which kicked off at an event on Aug. 27 at USC, will assess the users' engagement with and feedback of the smartphone app synched to the embedded sensor in the first-of-its-kind prototype optical frame, Level, created by The Shop.

The study comprised of USC employee daily eyeglass wearers has participants tracking a wearer's steps, calories burned, distance traveled and activity time. The biometrics are tracked by technology seamlessly embedded in the temple of the frame – including an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscope – and synched wirelessly via Bluetooth to an accompanying smartphone app.  USC Roski Eye Institute is the optometric care partner in the study having its ophthalmologists and optometrists at its USC clinics on the school's main campus and health sciences campus perform the eye exams and ensure accurate prescriptions for the study participants.

And there's an element that combines gaming and philanthropy. The app will synch with VSP Global's Eyes of Hope initiative where study participants will accrue points based on reaching daily step goals. Once a certain number of points are achieved, the user will trigger the donation of a comprehensive eye exam and pair of glasses to someone in need. Participants are able to choose a charity of their choice for the donation among seniors, school-age children, veterans or the homeless population.

"In this next phase of our continued collaboration with VSP we're thrilled to be partnering with them to maximize the wearable sensor in eyeglasses by engaging wearers in improved health fueled by philanthropic endeavors," stated Leslie Saxon, founder and executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing.  "We're using the eyes as a window into the soul and the heart – it's a testament to the power of digital tools to improve health and improve the world at the same time."

"Not only is Level a unique health-tracking technology that fuses function, fashion and digital health in a platform as common as eyewear, our collaboration with USC will also allow VSP to study Level in the context of increasing health and wellness outcomes while creating empathy and opportunity for someone in need," said Jay Sales, co-director of VSP Global's The Shop. "As a community-based not-for-profit, that interplay is core to who we are as a company."

"Offering our patients digital health tools and wearable technology in our eye clinics is the wave of the future," said Rohit Varma, interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the USC Roski Eye Institute.

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