Human/Machine Interfaces

Human Machine InterfacesWireless, Transmittable, Health and Vital Signs Data

It is estimated that more than one third of people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their life. Current treatments include drugs, which often have side effects, or therapy with a psychiatrist, which is expensive and time consuming. Instead of requiring a highly-trained and highly-paid human to do all of the treatment of mental health, it would reduce costs and expand the availability of mental health treatment if it were possible for an artificial intelligence program to interact with people in a way that ameliorated their condition. David Bychkov works in developing smartphone apps that can sense a user’s emotional state and offer feedback to treat chronic pain, depression or anxiety.

David Bychkov uses freelance programers to develop his apps. Hardware costs are low, as only a few devices are needed to test each apps.

Costs: The development of each app costs approximately $30,000.

Curing BlindnessCuring Blindness

Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired due to various cases; 39 million of them are blind. Unless prevented from an early age through nutrition, or vision correction, many of these cases of blindness last for people’s entire lives. Dr. Sheila Nirenberg is taking a different approach. Instead of building on traditional methods, Dr. Nirenberg has created a mechanical eye that can directly communicate visual information to the brain. She has effectively cured blindness in mice and is looking to bring this treatment to humans.

In 1 year Dr. Nirenberg’s goals are to complete preclinical safety studies, so she and her team can apply to the FDA for clinical trials. In 3 years they hope to complete phase1/Phase II clinical trials. In 5 years Dr. Nirenberg’s aims to complete Phase III clinical trials. Her long term goals are to have a widely applicable treatment for blindness due to retinal degenerative diseases, which affect 10 million in the US. Her far-reaching vision includes surgery-free, highly effective treatment for blindness; treatment for deafness, motor disorders (including damage from stroke), based on the same principles as used for the retinal prosthetic.

Costs: $200,000 in the short run (for preclinical work); > $2 million as we approach and begin clinical trials>

Medical Implants


Chris BettingerMedical implants are excellent ways of delivering drugs with more convenience and control than oral and intravenous methods.Dr. Christopher Bettinger is working on developing new medical implants that can be used to treat conditions like infection, chronic pain and obesity. Developing these implants will require the efforts of two full-time researchers, as well as an optical microscope, oxygen plasma cleaner and access to microfabrication facilities.

Costs: $200,000 per year