One of the $125,000 winners in the 2017 Pitt Innovation Challenge uses good vibrations from a wearable device to help veterans control PTSD. Another wearable gives real-time visual feedback from prosthetic limbs to help lower-limb amputees learn to walk. In all, 13 teams were awarded a total of $565,000 at the PInCh 2017 event. The challenge asks how wearable technology can be used to address important health problems. Seven teams competed in a poster session in which event attendees voted for the projects. Six teams then pitched their projects to a live judging panel and audience.

This year four of the projects received up to an additional $25,000 in bonus awards because they impact U.S. military veterans. One of those projects was from the MOVISU-Fit team which pitched its mobile gait-training system. Another was the Purr team, whose software platform employs existing mobile technology to learn about the user and deliver personalized vibrations to enhance performance and resilience. The uHaptic team came up with a wearable that will provide life-like sensory feedback to wearers of upper or lower limb prostheses. The team that came up with the Manual Wheelchair Virtual Seating Coach aims to help users to learn and remember to do pressure relief activities to prevent pressure ulcers.

Other winning projects include:

  • Thermal block technology to suppress or disrupt peripheral nerve activity;
  • A smart compression stocking for patients suffering from chronic venous insufficiency;
  • Wearable technology-based behavioral intervention to prevent chronic low back pain;
  • Wearable technology that predicts and warns a person of orthostatic hypotension to prevent a fall;
  • A protocol using continuous glucose monitors for temporary intensive insulin therapy at time of type 2 diabetes diagnosis to induce beta cell restoration and diabetes remission; and
  • The FLO2 NeuroCap, technology to monitor brain oxygenation and neuronal activity in children after cardiac arrest or other brain injury.

Money to support PinCh 2017 awards was provided by DSF Charitable Foundation.