NeuroTrainer receives National Science Foundation Grant

By Jamie Moran

This month, NeuroTrainer was awarded a $750,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant (SBIR).

The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental or basic research activities that focus on scientific and engineering discoveries themselves, the NSF SBIR program supports the creation of opportunities to move fundamental science and engineering out of the lab and into the market at scale; That is, the program promotes startups and small businesses representing “deep technology ventures.”

The NSF SBIR Program funds advanced research and development. The program is designed to provide non-dilutive financing and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development.   

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is to provide new infomration on cognitive health. The support includes 60 M people who identify as athletes, 3 M annually suffering traumatic brain injuries, and the 40 M more looking to measure brain health. Current healthcare assessments are available at specialized facilities with trained professionals and detect only significant changes to cognition. In contrast, this project develops an affordable, reliable way to measure brain health and to monitor changes after treatment, training, and rehabilitation. This project leverages expertise in human performance, cognitive neuroscience, computer science and virtual reality simulation. Furthermore, it offers athletes a way to assess cognitive abilities such as focus, decision making and multitasking.

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will focus on the technical aspects of training, measuring, analyzing and reporting how people perform athletic and cognitive tasks in unison. These domains of research and technical knowledge come together to form a unique cognition platform that accounts for both physical and cognitive behavior. The platform’s measurement instruments reflect cutting-edge research on (1) human perception, specifically in fast-paced and dynamic environments; and (2) the interplay of perception and action in a virtual reality environment. The analytics engine captures and processes thousands of data points per minute describing object locations in simulated space; users’ hands, body and head behavior; and cognitive performance.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

The NSF invests in high-tech small businesses and collaborations between academia and industry to transform discoveries into innovative commercial technologies with societal benefits.



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