Peoria NEXT Awards $50K to Local Start-up Business
Peoria NEXT continues to support technology and innovation in Greater Peoria by awarding VirtuSense Technologies (VST) $50,000 through its research grant program. According to Peoria NEXT CEO Grant Brewen, “This grant supports innovation and the implementation of commercialization in the areas of life science, physical science, material science, and engineering science. VST was chosen based on the company’s inter-institutional collaboration, scientific/technical merit, commercialization potential, and future access to funding.” Funds for this Grant Program were obtained through donations to Peoria NEXT.
VST is a spin-off company of Bradley University working to develop technologies to improve medical training and skill evaluation by collaborating with Emergency physicians at OSF HealthCare and UICOMP. VST is housed at Peoria NEXT Innovation Center. Chief of Technology, Deepak Gaddipati, says this grant allows his team to continue researching ways to develop cost effective systems to improve simulators used for training medical personnel. “This grant enables the development of preliminary components for an augmented reality based surgical training system that combines virtual patient simulation with trainee skill evaluation capabilities.” Gaddipati explains that VST is trying to develop state-of-the-art hardware and embedded medical training and evaluation systems for trauma procedures. One example utilizes disposable synthetic tissue, allowing medical trainees to perform surgical procedures while providing real-time analysis of their actions. This system will allow trainees to experience the nuances of real-life surgery before operating on a patient.
As announced earlier this year, Peoria NEXT went through a realignment process to better position itself to attract technology commercialization opportunities by focusing resources and energy on four main areas of concentration, one of which is the Medical/Healthcare industry. Brewen says this industry is one of the fastest growing industries and the Greater Peoria Region has a cutting-edge medical infrastructure that has witnessed over $600 million in recent investments, additions and renovations. The awarding of this grant to VST fits completely with the new vision of Peoria NEXT. “The focus of ‘NEXT Medical’ is to generate funding to sponsor and manage research in the areas of cancer biology, health informatics, medical education and medical device development. With vision that extends far outside the laboratory, ‘Next Medical’ can aggregate funding from both public and private sources, develop research projects involving multiple institutions and actively manage their funding and accountability.”