Mobility Assist, a device that was patented at Stony Brook University (SBU), will be manufactured at the Biodex plant in Shirley, New York and be available to patients in 2014.
A licensing agreement was reached between the Research Foundation for SUNY and Biodex Medical Systems to bring the product, which helps people who have trouble standing up or sitting down become more independently mobile, to market.
“Having a New York company bring to market a life-changing product designed at our own SUNY system is the perfect example of what our state’s innovation agenda can achieve,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.
Mobility Assist was created by Anurag Purwar, a researcher and associate professor of mechanical engineering at SBU. Dr. Purwar’s idea began with a challenge presented to him by a friend, Dr. Hari B. Pillai, who didn’t have the strength to lift himself out of a chair to utilize his walker.
The device – which also serves as a walker – will be marketed to physical and occupational therapists as well as assisted living facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes to increase mobility among patients and residents.
“Professor Purwar is emblematic of the intellectual capital at SUNY where talented students, faculty and researchers are developing cutting edge ideas in the classroom and laboratory that can become marketable assets and spur economic growth,” Cuomo added.
“This successful transition of technology from the lab to the marketplace is the product of dedicated research, industry-university collaboration, and creative funding programs that foster faculty research and support innovation,” said Dr. Tim Killeen, RF president and SUNY vice chancellor for research. “Investments in cutting edge SUNY technologies continue to generate business and jobs for New York and benefit its citizenry.”
Two RF programs contributed to the creation of Mobility Assist. In 2012, Dr. Purwar received a $50,000 award from the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) to prototype the device, and secured a $30,000 match in support from the New York State Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR) program, with the Center for Biotechnology and Biodex.
Using those funds, Dr. Purwar and his team at SBU worked with Biodex to conduct a mechanical functional design review and collect customer feedback by testing the original design at three health care facilities. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and patients shared their ideas throughout the process to identify ways that Mobility Assist could be more comfortable and useful for its users.