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Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Battelle Health & Analytics Newsletter

Battelle NeuroLife™ Wins Big in Annual R&D 100 Awards

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. 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 on Nov. 4 at National Harbor in MarylandBattelle, along with 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.”

NeuroLife is a pioneering neural bypass technology 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 it 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. Study sessions are performed twice a week at the Wexner Medical Center with the participant along with OSU doctors and Battelle scientists and engineers. A major paper in Nature magazine was published in 2016. 

Two other technologies created with the support of researchers in Battelle’s Health & Consumer Solutions business were also recognized as part of the R&D 100 Awards. 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.

Battelle DroneDefender™, which achieved finalist status for the Top 100 technology awards, burst onto the scene on 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. 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.

“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.”