In the late 1990’s, NASA approached the German Space Agency (DLR) to develop technology to measure the precise eye movements of astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle.
A program called the “Life Sciences Working Group” was created and housed in DLR’s Division of Manned Spaceflight.
DLR approached physicist Dr. Friedrich Baartz to apply his expertise in this area. Dr. Baartz teamed with Dr. Andrew Clarke – a professor in the Charité Medical School in Berlin – to take advantage of his experience in vestibular research and study of eye movements.
Applying funding from DLR, Dr. Baartz and his team created the commercial venture Chronos Vision to create the desired eye tracking system for DLR. In 2004, the first Eye Tracking Device developed by Chronos Vision flew aboard the Soyuz TMA-4 mission to the International Space Station.
Building on this successful space application, Chronos Vision teamed with what is now Novartis to integrate the technology into a refractive eye surgery device. Nearly 2,000 of the devices have been implemented around the world.
Today, Chronos Vision is working on establishing new commercial partners to expand applications and sales of the eye-tracking device.