Inspiralia client company IKONA wins National Science Foundation grant

 

A beneficial collaboration of knowledge transfer and $255,901 for further project development in Virtual Reality

 

New York City-based client, IKONA Inc. (IKONA), is a HealthTech startup at the intersection of storytelling, healthcare, and technology. It has been awarded $255,901 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a proof-of-concept for a VR (Virtual Reality) training system for caregivers who work with seniors. The SBIR Phase I project will result in the production of a high-quality, effective training module for helping senior caregivers optimally understand and respond to cognitive changes in older adults. It will also allow for the creation of the various key elements of the IKONA Virtual Reality training system that set this system apart from the competition, whereby the developed elements will be further expanded on in Phase II.

IKONA, in collaboration with its senior care partners, is developing an innovative Virtual Reality training system designed to address the critical need for high-quality, scalable, and cost-effective training tools for caregivers who work with seniors. Leveraging principles from the cognitive neuroscience of learning, IKONA’s solution provides innovations on three fronts:

  1. VR content design: the training modules include VR storytelling experiences that are enhanced with cinematic directing techniques, strategically designed to maximize user engagement in the VR experience.
  2. VR content analysis: Ikona measures users’ learning progress via integrated, multidimensional VR-based testing (including embedded interactive testing elements) calibrated to optimally assess the amount of new information learned and how well this information has been internalized.
  3. VR content delivery: users progress through the training curriculum guided by an adaptive learning mechanism designed to maximize long-term learning and retention. By adopting IKONA’s solution, senior care facilities can effectively enhance both the training and the motivation of their nursing staff, which should ultimately reduce staff turnover. In turn, caregivers are empowered to address seniors’ needs, enhance their quality-of-life, and facilitate ‘aging in place’, hence contributing towards increasing well-being among the elderly population and alleviating the societal costs of aging.

Inspiralias work together (IKONA-Inspiralia):

At Inspiralia we are keen to help our clients secure the grants they need to make their innovative ideas a reality. IKONA now benefits from our knowledge in public funding as well as our services in the development of their new technology. Our team is closely working with IKONA’s CEO, Tim Fitzpatrick, and Lead Scientist, Todd Maddox, on new projects for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health with a focus on kidney care.

About IKONA Inc.

IKONA’s story began in 2015 with neurosurgeons Kimon Bekelis, MD (Co-founder, Chairman), and George Kakoulides, MD (Co-founder, President)’s ground-breaking R&D work. In 2016 they were introduced to Tim Fitzpatrick (Co-founder and CEO), a technology sector equities trader at BMO Capital Markets in NYC, who possessed a unique understanding of the importance of their work. For Tim, improving the patient experience is personal. He is a US Navy veteran who sustained injuries while flying that led him to spend nearly two years in and out of VA hospitals—and even more, time researching how cutting-edge technologies can be harnessed to help others going through similar experiences. The co-founders created IKONA with the mission to transform the patient experience by educating patients and training providers. Since its founding, IKONA has maintained a laser-focus on technological advancements. Working closely with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kel O’Neill and cognitive neuroscience expert Todd Maddox, Ph.D., IKONA is now creating a library of immersive content tailored to meet the needs of seniors and their caregivers. For that, IKONA has enlisted a roster of creators (including Oculus Virtual Reality for Good Fellow, a Lovie- and Digiday-Award-winning creative technologist) and graphic designers, developers, and producers who have taken leading roles in projects for clients like the Wall Street Journal, PBS and Within.

About the National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs provide startups and small businesses with non-dilutive funding to conduct research and development (R&D) work. The funding is intended to spur the creation of innovative new products and services and to drive the commercial success of the small business.

If you have an innovative project and you think you may apply for research grants, there’s probably funding available for you. We would love to hear how you’re brainstorming ways to address new solutions. For in-depth guidance on how to pivot your R&D program or a personalized validation of what new funding opportunities your business may be a fit for, please reach out to Inspiralia USA.