Why did the software freeze during a VNG test?


Why did the software freeze during a VNG test?

What causes a freeze and how to fix it

Check the Visiobox to laptop internet connection

On some occasions, you may experience software freezing. Typically this occurs during the Smooth Pursuit test, but may also happen on Random Saccades, Optokinetic, and rarely during calibration tests.  Let's look at what may be the cause and what you can do to fix it and complete testing your patient.

If you have a NysStar I, NysStar II, or Headstar, it includes the Visiobox module. Visiobox is a mini-computer that assists the laptop power calibration, peripheral stimulation and oscillating tracking tests.  Visiobox helps the screen from buffering or creating erratic screen images.

If you have Headstar E-Z VNG, it does not have Visiobox, but does have VisioX internally.  We will discuss Headstar E-Z systems in an upcoming post.

Two connection options

Difra Visiobox premium VNG

Difra's Visiobox functions as a mini computer

Visiobox has two connection options to connect the Visiobox to the computer.  The first is a wireless WiFi adapter that is used as an internet connection without internet access.  It only allows for communication between the laptop and the Visiobox.  Once set up properly, it will show up as WiFi-2 in your network and internet settings.  WiFi-1 is your standard internet access connection.

Consider a wireless extender

Typically, the wireless connection works great, but if you often experience freezing, erratic behavior or lose your internet connection on the laptop, you may need to consider a couple of options.  If you have several devices connected to your router or your building has heavy, thick walls, long hallways, concrete or brick walls, plus some distance from your router to the laptop, you may need to install a simple router extender to push a stronger signal to the Visiobox and laptop.

Most extenders plug into a wall outlet, then you simply follow the product's instructions to pair the extender to your router.  When connected, this will strengthen your signal, allowing your Visiobox to function much better.  Extenders can be purchased at many electronics stores or Amazon for between $25 to $100.  Personally, I use an extender in the $50 to $70 range, I find these work great while the more expensive ones tend to be more complicated to set up.

An ethernet cable directly connects Visiobox to the laptop

If an extender still does not completely help, then we can go to the second type of Visiobox connection, using an ethernet cable that directly connects the Visiobox and laptop.  First, check your laptop to make sure it has an ethernet port.  Most all of the newer computers have them, but make sure before going any further.  The ethernet port looks like a larger phone cable connection.

You will have another cable to manage, but you will also have much-improved connectivity and consistency to offset the inconvenience of another cable.

To complete a changeover to an ethernet connection, you will need to contact my office at 260.804.4041 or by email to [email protected] and schedule a time that I can remote access your computer to complete the ethernet set up.

This process does not take long, maybe 15 minutes providing everything goes as planned. I will be changing your default from the wireless connection to the ethernet option, plus making a change to the IP address to facilitate the ethernet connections, then disconnecting your WiFi connection for Visiobox only.

It is best to schedule this during a time without patients.

Once the ethernet connection is completed, you should experience no further freezing due to the Visiobox connection. 

Other factors that may cause a freeze

There are other factors that may cause a freeze, mostly, one of which may be due to the overuse of the computer's RAM memory.  You can try to redo the test by stopping the test, then on the lower left of the software screen, click on the test to redo and start over.  Many times, this will help clear the test up, allowing for you to complete the test.  

If that does not clear things up, exit and reboot the system.  I know, not fun, but it might be necessary to clear the cache and RAM.  If Windows was in the middle of an update, it will need to finish before everything works properly again.  I highly suggest changing the schedule for Windows updates to happen overnight so as not to interrupt your testing schedule and for your best overall computer performance.  

If you have questions or just want to talk about this post or you have any other questions, please contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Stay Healthy,

Dan Scherer

CEO, Secure Health, Inc.

260.804.4041 / [email protected]

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Difra VNG Software Comparison, Basic or Full Featured


Baic E-Z VNG Software Compared with Full Featured Premium VNG Software

You have probably noticed from our website that we offer three versions of videonystagmography VNG software technology.  So you might be wondering, "Why are there three different VNG devices and

vng equipment, Difra VNG equipment, vestibular assessment

Balance assessments for every patient over 55 are part of a comprehensive falls prevention program

which one works best for me?"  Let's start with a basic description of choices. The basic HeadStar E-Z and HeadStar full-featured VNG devices are comprised of a monocular (one) camera system and the NysStar is a full-featured binocular (two) camera VNG device. 

If you need to decide which camera choice is best between a one-camera or a two-camera, please refer my blog post entitled, "The Right Choice, One or Two Camera VNG?"

Today, I will assist you with making the correct software choice that fully meets your immediate and long-term needs.  Is it basic HeadStar E-Z software or full-featured premium software of HeadStar and

NysStar? To begin deciding what software choice is best for you, what type of patient do you anticipate you will use the VNG to treat?

  • Are you interested in expanding your practice with new ancillary services with balance disorder patients, whereby you are evaluating higher falls risk patients to identify, test and treat basic balance disorders?
  • Will you be referring more advanced or complex vestibular disorders cases to a neurologist, ENT or AuD?
  • Do you or are you interested in testing concussion, TBI or mTBI cases for vestibular disorders?
  • Are you vestibular specialist, neurologist, ENT, AuD or similar practice with a high volume of vestibular disorder patients?

vng concussion management for sports injuries

Premium NysStar VNG is best for TBI concussion management

Essentially, if you fit into the first two categories, you might consider our more economical basic HeadStar E-Z VNG software.  If you fit better within the last two scenarios or you intend to start with the first two, then evolve into the last two categories, you should consider our full-featured, premium HeadStar or NysStar software from the beginning.

Basic HeadStar E-Z VNG Software

Some clients are interested in a more basic, economical VNG device that allows for a good return on investment.  The product's manufacturer, Difra Instrumentation, helped us meet those clients' needs by developing the HeadStar E-Z software. HeadStar E-Z software is only available in the monocular device, it is not available in the NysStar binocular device.  E-Z software has the same high-definition camera and accurate, exceptional eye-tracking as our full-featured premium software does. You sacrifice nothing in the quality of hardware or accuracy of test results.  

The HeadStar E-Z software allows you to conduct all standard VNG tests, just as you can with the full-featured premium software, including:

Calibration, random saccades, smooth pursuit, OPK (horizontal only), spontaneous nystagmus, all gaze positions, active head rotation (AHR) -- vertical and horizontal planes, Dix Hallpike, all body and head positioning and all four caloric tests.  

However, to provide a more economical package, the E-Z software does not have some of the advanced software features found on the full-featured premium VNG software.  The three main differences are as follows:

  1. There is no database module included with the HeadStar E-Z.  When the battery of tests are completed, the results can be edited, but once saved the reports will become a PDF file. A prompt will warn that after saving the PDF and exiting, the original tests are no longer available, only the saved PDF file.  There are three choices of the test results: numerical data, compact and/or detailed reports.  I recommend saving all three results. Of course, we always recommend saving the test results to an external hard drive that is connected to your computer, in the event of a computer failure and for improved data security. Additional regular external back-ups of test results are highly recommended to prevent lost data, which cannot be recovered if inadvertently deleted or in the event of computer failure.
  2. With the E-Z software, it cannot record video of the patient's eyes to review later, after the test is completed.  Some physicians like to review the test data and the video recordings at later times,however, with E-Z software, this feature is not available.  Not everyone uses this feature, but many clinicians do require it, making the full-featured premium HeadStar and NysStar software the correct choice.
  3. The E-Z software allows you to change the VNG test sequence, but if you change sequences often, then it will be done manually.  As an example, if you are completing all of the tests but not the four caloric tests, you simply need to manually delete the caloric tests during the setup.  The E-Z software saves the last sequence run, so if you need to do a full test, including calorics on the next patient you need to manually add back the four caloric tests.  With the full-featured premium software, you can enter numerous test sequences into a drop-down menu making the change in test sequencequick and easy.

One last thought on E-Z software.  I am frequently asked if it is possible to upgrade from the E-Z to the full-featured premium software. The answer is yes, but it is expensive to do so.  My suggestion always is if you feel that you will eventually need or want the full-featured premium software, then it is far more economically feasible to purchase it from the beginning.  The increase in cost for the full-featured premium software of HeadStar and NysStar is not significant as a new device, but doubles in cost as an upgrade.  

Full-Featured, Premium HeadStar and NysStar Software

The HeadStar and NysStar software allows you to conduct all standard VNG tests, including:

Calibration, random saccades, smooth pursuit, OPK (horizontal and vertical), spontaneous nystagmus, all gaze positions, active head rotation (AHR) -- vertical and horizontal planes, Dix Hallpike, all body and head positioning and all four caloric tests.  

Our full-featured premium HeadStar and NysStar software also allows you to complete many additional functions not found in basic, economical HeadStar E-Z software.  We already discussed video recording, test sequencing and database capabilities above. If you are needing any of those features, then hands-down the full-feature premium software is your best choice.  

In addition, the full-featured premium software has the capabilities for customizable reports, additional tests, such as vertical OPK tests, vHit on Headstar only (not available with NysStar) plus so much more.  Other features include a wireless remote control or a foot switch that allows the technician to move through tests easily and efficiently.

If your needs require a wide variety of tests, reporting and post-testing reviews, then our full-featured premium software is what you need. This option will provide years of testing accuracy and quality VNG testing that will meet your needs.  

Please take a moment to review our comparison chart to see all the features for both HeadStar and NysStar software options.  If you have any questions regarding our software options, products and services, please contact me at [email protected] or by calling 260.804.4041.  I would appreciate hearing from you.

--Dan Scherer, CEO

Secure Health, Inc.

260.804.4041 or [email protected]








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