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Partnership for Economic Innovation Secures Funding for Wearable Technology Research

Arizona Commerce Authority awards $1.6 million to Arizona WearTech Applied Research Center

The Partnership for Economic Innovation (PEI), a passionate collective of business and community leaders dedicated to accelerating Arizona’s economic opportunities, announced that the Arizona Commerce Authority had awarded $1.6 million to support eight new applied research projects through its WearTech Applied Research Center. State funding matches private and nonstate funds committed by the industry partners.

The applied research model accelerates product development and commercialization by combining the private and public sectors. PEI’s WearTech Applied Research Center focuses on de-risking investment in future-of-health and biomedical technology. The center shepherds these innovative products through the idea generation, project formation, validation, and commercialization phases.

“At the WearTech Applied Research Center, we’ve been able to partner with businesses and universities, bringing together remarkable talent who are working on innovative solutions to advance health and human performance,” said Kathleen Lee, Director of Applied Research Centers for the Partnership for Economic Innovation and Senior Vice President of Regional Initiatives at Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “We thank the Arizona Legislature for setting aside these public funds for applied research and appreciate the Arizona Commerce Authority for awarding these funds to help us advance critical research projects and hope they will continue to make similar investments in the future.”

During the 2021 legislative session, the State Legislature appropriated $5 million to distribute to applied research centers and institutes across the state, including $2.5 million for wearable technology applied research. The Arizona Commerce Authority then awarded funds to selected applicants of its Applied Research Program, including $1.6 million to a new cohort of eight projects housed under the WearTech Applied Research Center.

“The WearTech Applied Research Center’s new projects represent the kinds of new technologies that are helping establish Arizona as a leader in the wearable technology sector,” said Brad Jannenga, Founder and Executive Chairman at Chassi and Board Member of PEI and the WearTech Applied Research Center. “Technology leaders in our state should be looking to the WearTech Center as a model to accelerate innovation in our state.”

The WearTech Center has so far supported the development and the path to commercialization of wearable technology projects, including a drug-free anxiety treatment device and dynamic fall risk assessment tool. This additional funding will support eight new projects, more than doubling the number of applied research projects through the WearTech Center and achieving 360% growth in total research funding compared to 2019. New research projects will help those with walking disabilities, develop a fetal monitor to detect compromising issues, create a wearable phototherapy device for the treatment of thrush, and more.

The WearTech Center’s 2022 cohort of eight projects partner with one of Arizona’s three public universities: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. The projects are:

  • Biomotum’s Wearable Robotic Ankle Assist Device (RAAD), an on-demand mobility assistance device to aid at-home functional gait training for individuals with a walking disability
  • GoX Labs’ and AKE’s Quasi-Active Exoskeleton (PhenEx), a device aimed at reducing work-related injuries and improving wellness with springs that aid activities like squatting or lifting
  • TouchPoint Solutions’ Anti-Anxiety Device is an over-the-counter device that combines look-up table and AI algorithms with (BLAST™) technology to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Movement Interactive’s Hiji®Band, an integrated solution for measuring acute injury in individuals exposed to brain injury
  • KLS’s Fetal Monitor uses biosensors and machine learning to detect emerging compromises to a baby’s health status for intervention
  • TF Health Company’s Personal Exposure Badge-like Device, a personal exposure device wore like a badge that monitors air pollutants, and a Breath Fat Oxidation Sensor, a sensing device that detects acetone in the breath to monitor adherence to calories in/calories out diets and ketogenic diets
  • 8Chili’s Virtual Reality for Medical Training technology and headband, a virtual reality simulation of clinical studies for medical students
  • Desert Platform’s Thrush Treatment Device is a wearable phototherapy device for the least invasive, most natural, and fully mobile treatment for thrush