In May 2020, two Research Triangle-based organizations—the ASSIST Center (Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies) based at North Carolina State University and DHIT (the Digital Health Institute for Transformation) launched a virtual crowdsourced incubator, COVID-19 Unites Us All, to serve as an innovation engine for advanced remote care by sourcing ideas from the ecosystem and nurturing them from inception to implementation. The program launched on the Crowdicity platform on May 29th to a worldwide audience. With a specific focus on innovations related to COVID-19 protection, prevention, monitoring, and treatment, the virtual incubator site accepted responses to its Grand Challenges while DHIT and ASSIST conducted bi-weekly webinars to bring together thought leaders, clinicians, and technologists.
“It was humbling to see the excitement around this program and the innovations that came out of it,” said Michael Levy, President of DHIT and host of a bi-weekly webinar series that ran alongside the incubator. “While conducting webinars with experts across technology, clinical, and leadership ecosystems, we identified gaps and problems for our incubator participants to solve against. I’m looking forward to seeing the development of prototypes and their validation to improve health outcomes.”
After judges reviewed a cohort of competitive and impressive submissions, DHIT and ASSIST are pleased to announce the winners of its program and innovation awards:
- Team DermiSense has won a grand prize of $5,000 (awarded by Pfizer Digital) for its exceptional proposal using zero power test strips for biofluid extraction. In addition, the team will also receive clinical mentorship from the Charlotte AHEC and an opportunity to pilot its innovation through Cone Health Ventures.
- For its proposal for AI-driven facial recognition to detect signs of illness, Team HbLiVe will receive product design consulting from Device Solutions, intellectual property strategic consulting from SotoIP, and an opportunity to pilot its innovation through Cone Health Ventures. Finally, they have also won entry as a finalist for the RioT Accelerator Program.
- Team iReflexion will have the opportunity to collaborate with ASSIST on its wearable to measure stress through heart rate variability. They will also receive clinical mentorship from Charlotte AHEC.
- Team FASTR will receive a free membership to First Flight Venture Center’s Hangar6 for tools to generate its first prototype.
- Team etectRx has won entry as a finalist for the RioT Accelerator Program for its digital pill for reliable remote ingestion monitoring.
- One last team also won entry as a finalist for the RioT Acclerator Program for a wearable solution to monitor real-time social distancing.
“In my short time in The Triangle, I have been fortunate to see the collaborative and innovative spirit of this remarkable region embodied by this DHIT/ASSIST Center virtual incubator,” said Krista Covey, President of First Flight Venture Center. “First Flight looks for ways to support high science/high impact startups and we were thrilled to have Hangar6, our advanced rapid prototyping center play a part in this fantastic effort.”
Adam Curry, Innovation Ecosystem Director of the ASSIST Engineering Research Center, also commented, “ASSIST couldn’t be more pleased with the outcomes of the incubator. We got really high quality submissions and were supported by great sponsors. We look forward to seeing what comes as they walk together on the journey from idea to impact.”
For more information on the webinar series, visit dhitglobal.org/media.
The Digital Health Institute for Transformation (DHIT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit education and research institute supporting communities through the process of digital health transformation. We collaborate with leading academic institutions, associations, and industry to cultivate talent and ecosystems with our immersive learning platform, harnessing real-world experiences that drive the adoption of next generation skills, emerging technologies, and mindsets needed to foster the digital health leaders and innovators of the future, today. For more information, visit dhitglobal.org.
ABOUT THE ASSIST CENTER
The Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at North Carolina State University develops leading-edge systems for high-value applications such as healthcare and IoT by integrating fundamental advances in energy harvesting, low-power electronics, and sensors with a focus on usability and actionable data. For more information visit assistcenter.org.