COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers behind five proposed technologies that show promise in combating opioid abuse and addiction received state money to develop their ideas, a state commission announced Tuesday.
The private and public-sector recipients each received $10,000. Two prize winners are in Ohio, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.
Prize winners include:
- Kinametechs of Cincinnati, which proposed an augmented reality coaching system, using motion tracking technologies to customize a patient’s physical rehabilitation routine. The team believes enhanced physical therapy could reduce the need for prescription pain medication.
- The University of Dayton Research Institute, which pitched graduate student Kelly Cashion’s research in neurofeedback. The research is to be applied to technology that uses neurological sensors to provide real-time information to patients about their brain activity. Patients could be empowered to better understand the effects of addiction on the brain, take back control and accelerate their path toward recovery.
- Judson Brewer of Worcester, Massachusetts, who suggested a digital tool centered on mindfulness psychology that is based on his nationally known Craving to Quit program. Brewer wants to apply his program to opioid addiction.
- Lee Barrus of Orem, Utah, and his team at InteraSolutions’ idea of an opioids abuse risk assessment screening app. Medical professionals could flag at-risk patients and direct them toward alternative methods of pain management.
- The Edification Project in Boston, which suggested a virtual reality technology to make teens and young adults aware of dangers associated with opioid abuse. Virtual reality could frame attitudes toward drug abuse.
The prize recipients have cleared the first phase of Ohio’s Opioid Technology Challenge, which came about after Gov. John Kasich called for Third Frontier funding to accelerate technological breakthroughs that could combat the U.S. opioid problem. Ultimately $20 million will be made available to advance new ideas.
Ohio has been called ground zero for opioid deaths. The state spends $1 billion a year in prevention, education, law enforcement and treatment and recovery.
The challenge is a multi-phase competition with escalating prize amounts for progressive levels of technological development.
“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.”