Financial Backing Launches Student Startup for Virtual Rehabilitation System

Achievement date: 
2015
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Developers of vHAB, which records movement and muscle activity to provide real-time feedback to patients and clinicians, have received several grants toward commercializing the system. vHab was developed at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC), which is based at the University of Washington (UW).

Impact/benefits: 

vHAB is building a network of physicians, therapists, and business advisors, and has received media attention, including on GeekWire and on UW’s home page. The system’s success is inspiring to CSNE students, staff, and faculty, and will enhance career and graduate school prospects for the vHAB team. If successfully commercialized, it can improve rehabilitation efforts both locally and across the country.

Explanation/Background: 

vHAB, or virtual rehabilitation, won the 2014 Tech Sandbox competition through a course held at the CSNE in Seattle. The team—Tyler Libey and Brian Mogen (graduate students), Lars Crawford and Tanner Dixon (undergraduate students)—created “gameified” rehabilitation for people recovering from a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or similar condition.

vHAB is constructed from off-the-shelf technologies and unique software tailored to individuals suffering from upper extremity impairment. Because of the gaming aspect, the rehab process is more engaging with vHAB and patients may stick with the system longer than they would with traditional rehabilitation.

 

After the Tech Sandbox competition, vHAB worked CSNE’s Industry Liaison Officer and CoMotion, formerly the UW Center for Commercialization, to determine its potential for commercialization. The developers filed a provisional patent in March 2014 and additional patent investigations are underway. vHAB’s team secured a $5,000 grant from the Coulter Foundation in June 2014 to finalize a prototype, and won a $40,000 commercialization funding grant from CoMotion in November 2014.