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OHNS Balance and Falls "iHIT" Team wins 1st annual IHackHealth Appathon

The IHackHealth Appathon is a contest run jointly by UCSF and the Fung Institute at UC Berkeley. Principle investigators from UCSF were asked to pitch ideas for a health related app to a team of undergraduate students. Students then volunteered for each team, and under a tight timetable of several weeks, were asked to create a prototype app. Under principle investigators Jeff Sharon, MD and Lauren Pasquesi, AuD, the iHIT team (iphone head impulse test) created an app that allows for quick and quantified head impulse testing. Head impulse testing is commonly used to evaluate the functioning of the vestibular system, which is the inner ear balance system. This assessment is important, as dysfunction of the vestibular system causes dizziness and imbalance, which affects millions of Americans every year. However, current testing systems are expensive, and therefore are not widely used, except in specialized clinics. By using several of the Apple frameworks, including ATKit and SceneKit, the team was able to take advantage of an iphone's ability to track head and eye movements. The software provides automatic analysis and graph visualization of the data generated from a quick head turn while the subjects focuses on a target. This allows for quantification of the necessary data to assess the functioning of the vestibular system. The iHIT team won the competition, which earned them a spot in Berkeley's SkyDeck Incubator. The team plans on using this momentum to continue to develop the prototype app into an easy to use, affordable solution for vestibular testing.