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Ohio finding new solutions in the battle against opioid addiction

COLUMBUS, Oh. – Ohio Governor John R. Kasich recently put out a call for anyone with a technology solution in the battle against drug abuse and addiction. This was an attempt to find the the five most innovative concepts, promising to award prize money for the top-five best ideas.

“Ohio put out the call for new ideas and people from across the world responded,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “This issue affects countless individuals, families and communities, so we’re thrilled by the level of response and excited to move these ideas forward and save lives.”

Hundreds of average citizens, researchers, caregivers and service providers from across Ohio, the U.S. and nine countries participated, submitting bold and creative ideas that identify ways to accelerate solutions.

The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge leverages $8 million of a $20 million commitment to advance new ideas and find new technology-based solutions. The Challenge is a multi-phase, multi-million-dollar prize competition with escalating prize amounts associated with progressive levels of solution development.

Yong Pei (right) demonstrates his technology for patients in rehabilitation after joint replacement surgery. His augmented reality system that helps patients recover from injury without pain medication was chosen as one of the top ideas in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge. Courtesy: Ohio Third Frontier

Just from the first phase of the challenge, the top-five ideas received $10,000 prizes, the second stage of the Challenge will begin in late February and run through July 2018.

This second phase will seek out the expertise of the business and innovation community to help advance technology challenges into solutions. The final phase, the most promising solutions will receive funding to refine and cultivate the solution into a product.

The top-five winners:

  • Judson Brewer​ (Worcester, Massachusetts) –  Suggested a digital therapeutic centered on the psychological theory of mindfulness, bridging the gap between currently-available treatments and developing new digital solutions.
  • Kinametechs LLC ​(Cincinnati, Ohio) – suggested an augmented reality (AR)-based interactive coaching system.
  • Lee Barrus​ (Orem, Utah) – suggested an opioid risk assessment screening app to identify patients with risk factors for opioid abuse.
  • The Edification Project​ (Boston, Massachusetts) – team suggested a virtual reality (VR)
    technology focused on preventing addiction in teens and young adults.
  • The University of Dayton Research Institute ​(Dayton, Ohio) – Suggested neurofeedback be applied to medical technology that uses neurological sensors to provide real-time information to patients about their brain activity.

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