By Sharon Henry
Irvine, May 1, 2017 —A low-cost device designed to help people with walking disabilities took home the top prize in the local round of the Aging 2.0 Global Startup Search pitch held at CALIT2 last week.
The winning pitch showcased Red Lion Robotics’ Gait Rehab Adaptive Machine (GRAM). The hardware device can be attached to a wheelchair to provide therapy, rehabilitation and mobility for people with walking disabilities.
Yasemin Sarigul-Klijn, a UCI PhD student, and the founder and principal engineer of Red Lion Robotics will go on to compete for the $10,000 grand prize at the Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE conference in San Francisco on Nov. 14-15.
An honorable mention went to Ohmni Labs’ robots for seniors. The wi-fi-enabled robot was developed as an affordable, easy-to-use, interactive device to enhance the aging-in-place experience.
Six startups were selected to compete at the event that required presenters to make a persuasive 5-minute pitch, followed by answering questions from the panel of six judges.
“The Aging2.0 pitch competition for the Orange County Chapter was a massive success, and a lot of fun. With six startups and a full house in attendance, myself and the other judges had our work cut out for us,” said contest judge Ryan Foland, communications manager, UCI’s Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning. “The business ideas pitched ranged from robots to algorithms, and the scores were so close that we had to deliberate for some time to choose the winner. It is exciting to see so many great ideas in the aging tech space.”
Also judging the competition were Jim McAleer, CEO, Alzheimer's Orange County; Randy Platt, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, Post-Acute Care Partners Inc & Care Partners At Home; Chris Kennedy, CEO & social innovator, Age2Age; Bill Morris, adjunct professor, UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business; Sam King, president-elect (Southern California Chapter), Healthcare Financial Management Association National Advisory Council.
Startups participating in the Aging2.0 pitch competition for the Orange County Chapter include:
Red Lion Robotics: Develops hardware to assist people with walking disabilities.
SmallCircles: A free mobile app for family caregivers of older adults.
Concert Health: Helps physicians integrate behavioral health services into their practices.
Ohmni Labs: Develops robots to enhance aging-in-place experience.
Activimetrics: Software related to transportation systems analysis and related areas.
Syntr Health Technologies: Point-of-care treatment for diabetic foot ulcer patients.
-- Sharon Henry