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Battelle’s NeuroLife Technology Wins Big in Annual R&D 100 Awards, Including ‘Editor’s Choice’

Posted on Nov 7, 2016

Battelle’s DroneDefender also named a finalist in competition  

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—(Nov. 7, 2016) Each year, the annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the most significant technologies created during the previous year. Some of the world’s most innovative organizations vie for recognition and winning one of the coveted awards is a widely recognized stamp of validation—they’re known as the “Oscars of Innovation” for a good reason. This year, scientists and engineers from Battelle brought fascinating technology to the event and were rewarded with a top prize. NeuroLife®, a Battelle-invented system that currently allows a paralyzed man to have conscious control of his fingers, hand and wrist—via his thoughts—took home three prizes.

In addition to being named one of the top 100 technologies for the year, NeuroLife® also received special recognition for Social Responsibility and brought home the Editor’s Choice Award. The Battelle team was recognized at R&D Magazine’s annual ceremony Nov. 4 at National Harbor in Maryland Battelle, and the national labs it has a role in managing for the U.S. Department of Energy, won a total of 17 awards, bringing its historical tally to 355 during the last 54 years.

“The work we’ve accomplished to date, and the major milestone we’ve achieved, is a significant step toward producing technologies that will allow people with disabilities to regain some of their lost quality of life,” said Herb Bresler, a Senior Research Leader who leads Battelle’s NeuroLife program. “We are continuing to develop the system as well as its component technologies, which we believe will have applications beyond helping people with spinal cord injury. We could not have achieved this goal without the entire team, including our clinical collaborators at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and our current study participant, whose dedication to this program has been extraordinary.”

Two other technologies created with the support of researchers in Battelle’s Health & Consumer Solutions business were also recognized. Battelle partnered with the Ohio Soybean Council on Soy-PK Reactive Oligomer Cross-Linker Resin, which received Green Technology special recognition. Soy-PK Resin is a safe alternative to epoxy resins containing bisphenol-A (BPA), which is common in coatings for metal beer, beverage and food can coatings. Additionally, DESiN LLC received an R&D 100 Award for Obi, a system for people with conditions that keep them from being able to feed themselves, which Battelle helped to develop.

“We’re proud to see Battelle’s talented teams of men and women being recognized for these achievements by the R&D community,” said Battelle’s Steve Kelly, Senior Vice President of Contract Research. “They innovate every day to solve important challenges for our client business and mission needs.”

The DroneDefender, which achieved finalist status for the Top 100 technology awards, burst onto the scene in Oct. 15 drawing immediate attention and demand. It is an inexpensive, easy-to-use, lightweight, point-and-shoot system that can stop suspicious or hostile drones in flight. With a demonstrated range of 400 meters, DroneDefender provides instant threat mitigation, disrupting the drone using a proprietary radio control frequency disruption. The DroneDefender is only available for sale to federally authorized users because of FCC restrictions. More than 100 have been sold to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

NeuroLife is a pioneering technological system developed that has enabled a quadriplegic study participant to regain functional movement of his hand. Using an off-the-shelf brain implant that was implanted by study partner Dr. Ali Rezai and his team at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the NeuroLife system collects and interprets neural activity from the participant, translates that data and transfers to a sleeve on the forearm. The sleeve stimulates muscles so the hand can perform the task the participant is imagining—he thinks “make a fist” and then his hand makes a fist in near-real time (less than one-tenth of a second from thought to corresponding action). 

The study began in 2014 and many advances have been made in the intervening months. A major paper in Nature magazine was published this year. Study sessions are performed twice a week at the Wexner Medical Center with the participant along with OSU doctors and Battelle scientists and engineers.

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit 

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or  

Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544