/  December 14, 2016

CoMotion announces 10 winners of its 2016 Innovation Fund Grants

Evaluators at the Innovation Fund final presentations

Eric Seibel’s son likes to play in trees, and not long ago he was climbing in one when, as can sometimes happen, he lost his grip and fell to the ground. Seibel was afraid his son might have an internal injury, so he rushed him to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Fortunately, nothing was terribly wrong, until, that is, the hospital staff went to remove the IV. When they tore off the tape, Seibel’s son screamed bloody murder.  

Most parents would be limited simply to comforting their children. Fortunately for his son, Seibel is a research professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. He figured there had to be a way to make a medical tape that didn’t feel like it was tearing your skin off when it was removed. From these thoughts (and his son’s screams) came UnTape. UnTape is a novel medical tape that holds IV lines and other apparatuses to a patient’s skin, but can be rapidly and painlessly removed. It is ideal for children, or older patients who have thinner and weaker skin.

UnTape was one of ten ideas to receive a grant from the latest round of CoMotion Innovation Fund awards. Each winner will receive $40,000 to aid product development, and an additional $10,000 to help reach business development milestones. Projects were selected in two categories: life science and engineering. (UnTape is in the Life Sciences category.)


Life Sciences:

FimH Antibody: The project will create monoclonal antibodies that prevent the tissue attachment of pathogenic E. coli and Klebsiella species (via an adhesin called FimH), both of which can cause urinary tract infections, sepsis, meningitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Unlike others who work on the anti-FimH vaccines, this technology provides a way to both prevent and reverse bacterial attachment, thus serving both as prophylaxis and treatment agent. (PI: Evgeni Sokurenko, Professor, Dept of Microbiology)

PlayGait: Children affected with gait disorders, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, stroke, and other neurologic injuries, are limited in their ability to engage with peers. Current rehabilitation devices on the market do not serve to enhance mobility outside the clinic; there is currently no pediatric exoskeleton on the market. The PlayGait is an affordable, light-weight, and easy-to-use exoskeleton that can reduce energy costs, prevent skeletal deformities, and improve walking ability during daily life. (PI: Kat Steele, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering)

Alpenglow Optics: For pathology laboratories that process many surgical resection specimens, the light-sheet microscope system is a non-destructive imaging technique that creates a “sneak preview” digital microscopic image. Unlike gross examination, this solution is more accurate and decreases laboratory costs and utilization. (Team lead: Nicholas Reder, Resident, Dept of Pathology)

EigenHealth: For physicians who do endoscopy, this solution provides a lower cost and more portable platform for recording, storing and analyzing endoscopic exams. Unlike others, the team is building a completely functional endoscopic accessory suite on a smartphone platform. The minimal hardware and robust software mimic the $100K, five-foot-tall standard option, but at a fraction of the price and at a size that can fit in a pocket. (PI: Anthony Law, Resident, Dept of Otolaryngology)

MistEase: For patients who struggle to self-administer eye drop medications, MistEase is a novel way to deliver eye medications accurately and easily. Unlike a number of drop assist devices on the market, which rely on significant manual dexterity and neck extension, this solution is ergonomically designed and allows for simple and accurate dispersal of medication in the upright position. (PI: Joanne Wen, Assistant Professor, Dept of Opthamalogy)



CORE-MI: Outside of expert review of recorded sessions, there is currently no quality feedback method for addiction counseling (or counseling in general). For addiction counseling trainers and service providers, the CORE-MI software tool provides feedback on the quality of addiction treatment to support training, supervision, and quality assurance. CORE-MI is a first-ever technology to give automated feedback based on the spoken language of counseling. (PI: David Atkins, Research Professor, Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

HAOPs water treatment process: The performance of membranes used in water treatment facilities deteriorates rapidly due to the accumulation of contaminants on their surfaces. This decreases the rate at which they can process water, and increases their cost and energy requirements. Our new water "pre-treatment" process uses a proprietary material and a novel process for contacting the material with the water to remove key contaminants prior to the membrane treatment step, greatly increasing productivity and reducing costs compared to other available materials. (PI: Mark Benjamin, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

ThruWave: This millimeter wave imaging technology enables construction professionals to work faster and with lower risk by accurately imaging the internal structure of walls, floors, and ceilings. (PI: Matthew Reynolds, Associate Professor, Dept of Electrical Engineering)

Team Bilingual Baby: This product helps early education centers teach young children a second language by providing a research-based method and curriculum that can be effective with just one hour of instruction per day. (PI: Patricia Kuhl, Professor, Dept of Speech and Hearing Sciences; Director, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences)