Developing game-based technology to detect and intervene against stress and anxiety
Tech startup LifeSpan will use part of a Phase I STTR grant to conduct research at the Purdue University School of Industrial Engineering
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A tech startup that uses game-based interventions to help users identify stress and anxiety-related events in real time and receive personalized intervention has received a federal grant to partially develop its technology through to research at Purdue University College of Engineering.
LifeSpan CEO Jeffrey A. Cary said the company received a $255,409 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation. It will fund research led by Wenzhuo Wu, Ravi Associate Professor and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star in Industrial Engineering at the School of Industrial Engineering. Further research will be conducted at George Mason University and the Virginia Serious Game Institute.
“The product will prove or disprove the hypothesis that an interactive game-based mental health intervention that uses self-directed biofeedback training will be an effective mental health and addictions intervention,” Cary said. “We will also prove the efficacy and adoptability of the wearable device based on Wu’s Heart Rate Variability, or HRV.”
Wu said LifeSpan’s intervention technology enhances traditional methods of identifying those in need of mental health services and delivering those services.
“Current methods of identifying and diagnosing mental disorders are often based on unreliable retrospective self-reporting that depends on high levels of client motivation and insight. Some apps assess stress and sleep issues subjectively, without relying on physiological measures,” Wu said.
“In addition, current modes of mental health assessment and treatment delivery in the clinic or laboratory are very limited in scope and serve only a fraction of those in need. EElectrocardiography and photoplethysmography, also known as ECG and PPG, are constrained by cost and power consumption.
Wu said like a video game Technology has recently been developed to increase users’ interest and engagement in biofeedback and to facilitate the learning of deep breathing, relaxation and emotional self-regulation techniques. Although there is not yet enough empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of these new programs, he said it stands to reason that such technology can be helpful, in part because children and adolescents are often avid users of video games.
“In the United States, school-aged children spend an average of seven hours a week playing video games; high school and middle school students average about nine,” Wu said. to teenagers.
“Video game technology has already been used successfully to help the treatment of several childhood diseases such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
LifeSpan’s technology will also use Wu’s wearable triboelectric device, which harvests operational power from human movement. The device can detect the slightest skin movement caused by human pulse. It captures cardiovascular information encoded in pulse signals for high fidelity monitoring.
“Using a combination of actively and passively collected in-situ data, our technology platform will empower end users to understand the connections between emotions, stressors, and social interaction, and enable them to make positive improvements. to mental and physical health,” Wu said.
LifeSpan’s initial target audience is college students, with an emphasis on transitioning students – high school to junior college, undergraduate to graduate, and graduate to main workforce – and those in marginalized and underserved communities. Cary said the company’s technology benefits many groups, including students and their parents.
“Students benefit from having an available resource that is not subject to long wait times at their school’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) centers,” Cary said. “Parents benefit by seeing their children graduate; 60% of students with mental health issues end up dropping out of school, according to survey results from the National Alliance on Mental Health.
“Society benefits by developing a future workforce with a higher level of emotional intelligence and emotional self-regulation. CAPS centers benefit from an additional resource that is evidence-based and always available. Systems of Care benefits from reduced mental health-related emergency department visits and provider healthcare costs.
Cary said the Phase I research results will be end-to-end proof of concept, three papers published in peer-reviewed journals, and a presentation at a major conference in May 2023.
“These results will allow LifeSpan to attract venture capital and strategic industry partnerships, and we will seek Phase II and Phase III funding for Wu’s research,” he said.
Cary said that before the Phase I grant timeline ends, LifeSpan needs to secure outside seed funding to move forward with Phase II activities and pilot projects with some potential customers.
“In addition, we will engage with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin the process of classifying our commercial platform as a Prescriptive Digital Therapeutics, or PDT,” he said.
LifeSpan has entered into an option agreement with the Purdue Research Foundation’s Technology Commercialization Office to commercialize Wu’s intellectual property.
Wu received support from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, the National Science Foundation, and Purdue’s College of Engineering and School of Industrial Engineering to conduct his research. The research was published in the June 2020 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials.
LifeSpan is a leading digital therapy (DTx) company, pioneering the development of cognitive treatments through breakthrough technologies such as virtual reality-based serious games and self-directed biofeedback training. Our approach of leveraging technologies designed to directly target the autonomic nervous system establishes a new category of medicine – medicine validated by clinical trials as a drug or medical device, but experienced as entertainment. We focus on mental health issues that affect underserved and marginalized communities, such as students and Indigenous populations.
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a leading public research institution that develops practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the past five years as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers groundbreaking research and breakthrough discoveries. Committed to hands-on, online, real-world learning, Purdue provides transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. Learn how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.
About the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization
The Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the United States. The services provided by this office support Purdue University’s economic development initiatives and benefit the university’s academic activities through Purdue’s marketing, licensing and protection. intellectual property. In fiscal year 2021, the bureau reported 159 agreements finalized with 236 technologies signed, 394 disclosures received, and 187 U.S. patents granted. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally for startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation established to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Writer/media contact: Steve Martin, [email protected]
Sources: Jeffrey A. Cary, [email protected]
Wenzhuo Wu, [email protected]