Two Engineering-related Companies Receive $600,000 in State Economic Development Support

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board made awards totaling $600,000 to two Iowa City/Coralville area startup companies with close ties to the College of Engineering.

Iowa Adaptive Technologies (IAT), based in Coralville, has developed a product, the IAT SmartSwitch, in order to address the needs of the large number of patients with limited physical and communication abilities. The company was founded and is led by biomedical engineering graduate student Ben Berkowitz, who won a Storer Engineering Student Entrepreneurial Start-up Award in 2013.  The IAT SmartSwitch uses patented technology to detect the smallest intentional gestures a patient can produce (i.e. finger tap, eye movement, tongue click, etc.) and provides multiple output controls that are compatible with existing nurse call systems and speech generating devices. The IAT SmartSwitch can be easily implemented into the current market due to its simple design and compatibility with existing nurse call systems and other devices. The board awarded Iowa Adaptive Technologies a $100,000 loan through the Demonstration Fund to move forward with clinical field trials and additional marketing and sales efforts. 

Coralville-based VIDA Diagnostics, Inc. is the first-in-class diagnostics and therapeutic imaging informatics company for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment planning of pulmonary disease.  It was co-founded by Joe Reinhardt, professor and departmental executive officer of biomedical engineering, and Milan Sonka, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging.  In the emerging era of cost containment and value-based imaging services, VIDA extends the current value of medical imaging to the objective, repeatable, measurable standard demanded by pulmonary clinicians for critical decision support. The board approved a $500,000 loan through the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund so VIDA can continue to grow commercialization channels and further refine and develop its product.