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Wearable tech devices can address health problems

Shirley McMarlin
| Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Projects featuring wearable health care devices received a total of $565,000 in awards at the final event in the Pitt Innovation Challenge.

The challenge, in its fourth year, was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh's Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Contestants addressed the question, “How can we use wearable technology to address an important health problem?”

“Wearable technology capabilities are advancing rapidly, and this year's PInCh final showcased how this technology can make a difference in health care,” said institute director Dr. Steven Reis in a news release.

Thirteen teams competed at the final pitch event on Oct. 25, which included live presentations and posters. Three projects took home $100,000 to $125,000 each in funding, seven received $10,000 to $30,000, and three others received $10,000.

Funds to support 2017 PInCh awards were provided by DSF Charitable Foundation, the charitable-giving organization of the David Scaife family.

Projects receiving $100,000 to $125,000 were:

MOVISU-Fit: Mobile gait training system for lower limb amputees that provides real-time visual feedback.

Purrr: An intuitive tool that detects rising stress levels and empowers people to control it.

ThermalBlock: A reversible thermal block technology to suppress or completely disrupt peripheral nerve activity without causing tissue damage or pain

The $25,000 to $30,000 projects are:

FitIt: A smart, adjustable and self-monitoring compression stocking for patients with chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that affects blood flow from veins in the leg back to the heart.

InterACTION: ADL Module: Behavioral intervention for chronic low back pain that assesses activities of daily living and provides a customized treatment plan.

OH Alert!: Technology that assesses individualized heart rate data to predict and warn a person of potential falls due to a low blood pressure condition.

uHaptic: For upper or lower limb prostheses to interface with existing and future stimulation systems to provide life-like sensory feedback to the wearer.

REMIT DM: A technology that combines continuous glucose monitors with temporary intensive insulin therapy to restore a diabetic's ability to make his or her own insulin.

FLO2 NeuroCap: A non-invasive technology to monitor brain oxygenation and neuronal activity in children after cardiac arrest or other brain injury.

Manual Wheelchair Virtual Seating Coach: A system to help manual wheelchair users learn and remember to do adequate pressure reliefs to prevent the development of pressure ulcers.

The $10,000 awards went to:

FingerSight: Technology patented by Pitt that replaces eye motion with finger motion, allowing visually impaired users to scan the environment and rapidly find and identify objects.

I-HITS: An individualized hand improvement and tracking system, which allows stroke patients to monitor hand movement and therapists to deliver treatment remotely.

MagicSocks: Smart textile device for treatment of restless leg syndrome that delivers controlled electrical and vibrational stimulations to lower extremities.

This year's challenge included a Veteran Impact Incentive, with solutions aiding U.S. military veterans being eligible for up to an additional $25,000 in funding, which the MOVISU-Fit and Purrr projects receive.

Project videos can be viewed at pinch.pitt.edu .

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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