Development of a Mobile, Miniaturized, Field Deployable Pupillometer to Assess Fitness for Duty

Period of Performance: 12/14/2001 - 06/13/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Pmi, Inc.
5951 Halpine Road
Rockville, MD 20851
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT RESEARCH This project will take the commercially available FIT 2000 pupillometer and make it smaller, lighter, and more resistant to environmental extremes for use by a wider commercial and military population. Prior research has validated the present FIT pupillometer as a rapid, noninvasive, self-administered test for sleep deprivation related impairment as well as impairment from drugs and alcohol. This project proposes to redesign the present FIT pupillometer, which is currently restricted to indoor use under constant light conditions, to achieve a new mobile version that can be used in varying weather and ambient light conditions. Performance variation due to impairment from sleep deprivation and other causes is a very common problem in the military as well as in commercial operations. With this simple and fast technology, management can evaluate the readiness of troops or employees and therefore assess the risk of accidents in safety sensitive tasks versus continuing operations. Phase I will complete the overall design of the "mobile" FIT including both the technical design and packaging concept. In addition, Phase I will design and execute a study to determine the effect of ambient light differences on Saccadic Velocity, Pupil Diameter, Constriction Latency and Constriction Amplitude. Phase II will be to implement the design into a full development project and build 6 prototypes to use for measuring and compensating for ambient light effects on normal and sleep deprived subjects. Phase III will be to build production models for both military and commercial applications. The current FIT 2000 design has already shown that there is market demand for a fast, non-invasive test that can show the presence of risk factors associated with both overt and covert performance deficits. The current design will only operate under very mild environmental conditions including constant ambient light which severely limits the utilization of the current device. Once the new mobile design has been completed as part of Phase II with full validation, the market potential within military and commercial applications is huge. The military and many commercial applications have become extremely concerned with sleep deprivation and is actively looking for ways to better manage this issue. The new design impairment screener can be used for sleep deprivation only or as a full fitness-for-duty screener in safety critical industries such as mining and transportation. The Phase I benefit will be the completion of all of the feasibility testing addressing the open issues that exist today along with a complete plan to bring this technology to its full potential.