Peripheral vestibular function may be tested quantitatively, by measuring the gain of the angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (aVOR), or functionally, by assessing how well the aVOR performs with respect to its goal of stabilizing gaze in space and thus allow to acquire visual information during the head movement. In recent years, several groups have developed clinical and quantitative approaches to functional testing of the vestibular system based on the ability to identify an optotype briefly displayed on screen during head rotations. Although the proposed techniques differ in terms of the parameters controlling the testing paradigm, no study has thus far dealt with understanding the role of such choices in determining the effectiveness and reliability of the testing approach. Moreover, recent work has shown that peripheral vestibular patients may produce corrective saccades during the head movement (covert saccades), yet the role of these eye movements toward reading ability during head rotations is not yet understood. Finally, no study has thus far dealt with measuring the true performance of their experimental setups, which is nonetheless likely to be crucial information for understanding the effectiveness of functional testing approaches.Thus we propose a new software and hardware research tool allowing the combined measurement of eye and head movements, together with the timing of the optotype on screen, during functional testing of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) based on the Head ImpulseTest.The goal of such tool is therefore that of allowing functional testing of the VOR while collecting the experimental data necessary to understand, for instance, (a) the effectiveness of the covert saccades strategy toward image stabilization, (b) which experimental parameters are crucial for optimizing the diagnostic power of the functional testing approach, and (c) which conditions lead to a successful reading or an error trial.
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