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Press Releases

Child Mind Institute establishes Technology Transfer Office to catalyze the development of technologies to help the millions struggling with mental health and learning disorders

December 3, 2020

Wearables, apps, and data collection and analysis tools focused on improving assessment, monitoring, and treatment

New York, NY (December 3, 2020) – The Child Mind Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to clinical care, research, and resources for children struggling with mental health and learning disorders, has established a Technology Transfer Office. This office will provide greater visibility and transparency of the MATTER Lab’s research initiatives and intellectual property to the broader investment and strategic communities. The MATTER Lab (Mind-Assisting Technologies for Therapy, Education, and Research) is a research lab within the Child Mind Institute that invents, builds, and applies technologies such as wearable devices, mobile apps, and analysis tools to help assess, monitor, and improve mental health.

The Child Mind Institute’s MATTER Lab has generated patents covering a variety of inventions. One of its key differentiators is its open source approach to the development and application of its research. By establishing a Technology Transfer Office for the MATTER Lab, the Child Mind Institute welcomes discussions with parties interested in exploring strategic and financial relationships to facilitate the further development of these highly promising technologies.

Notable technologies in the MATTER Lab research portfolio include:

  • A Position Tracking Wearable Device Relative to the Head is a patented implementation of microthermal imaging (“thermopile array”) as a sensor system for detection of position of the hand relative to the head. An example use would be to monitor behaviors related to mental health (such as repetitive behaviors that lead to self injury) and physical health (such as face touching that can spread disease). Our prototype is similar in size to a fitness tracker, allowing for everyday use, while at the same time leveraging Google’s TensorFlow AI (Artificial Intelligence) platform in a standalone on-device context to classify distance and position relative to the user’s head. This innovative standalone approach to position tracking without cameras has the potential to increase the accuracy of measuring movement in real-time mobile settings.
  • A Gesture Recognition Wearable Device prototype worn on the wrist that can monitor and record gestures and motions such as face touching and body-focused repetitive behaviors, including pulling out hair, skin picking, as well less severe but damaging behaviors such as nail biting, thumb sucking, and nose picking. The device can provide real-time (haptic) feedback on the wrist of the wearer to help stop these behaviors.
  • A Drug Overdose Detector is prototype for a wearable device that contains an accelerometer, an optical heart rate sensor, and a thermopile contactless thermometer to detect skin temperature to identify depressed respiration, as for example in detecting an opiate overdose.
  • The MindLogger Mobile Data Collection is a platform (https://mindlogger.org) that makes it easy for anyone to build activities to present, collect, and analyze information using mobile devices. Example activities include surveys, quizzes, digital diaries, cognitive tasks, and interventions. The three key innovations are: customizability of content, response options, and appearance; an extensive library of activities built using open standards (open, reusable parts defined by an open protocol); and distribution as a single app that appears differently to different user groups. This tool is more relevant than ever as healthcare evolves to incorporate more telehealth and remote options.
  • The CrisisLogger Web-based Data Collection tool allows users to share their struggles, fears, frustrations, hopes, and more — publicly or privately — through audio, video, or text messages. These messages are then converted into word clouds to capture the theme. Participants can decide whether or not they want to contribute their submissions for scientific research or keep them private.
  • “Face Guardian,” which uses a phone’s compass and a magnet on a person’s wrist to detect face touching.

In addition to all of the behavioral and physical health applications of MATTER Lab’s IP, there are also potential industrial and gaming applications, including:

    • 3D Position Tracking Relative to the Body and Environment in Compact Wearable:
      Our prototype full-body position tracking system expands on the number of sensors and processing power used in our head-centric device using the same patented microthermal imaging sensor system and standalone AI data processing. Despite having more than twice the number of sensors as our smaller device, it is still compact enough for seamless use in a gaming or industrial context. This prototype has the same cameraless ‘take with you wherever you go’ mobility as with our other devices.

“Our talented researchers are focused on developing technologies that will change the way the world understands and treats children struggling with mental health and learning disorders,” said Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute. “Like other major research institutions, we are eager to connect these researchers with investors and industry to bring inventions to the marketplace that will address real-world, clinical challenges for child development and mental health.”

“The work of our research teams has already led to the development of impressive technologies with important real-world applications, always inspired and informed by our clinicians, patients, and families,” added Dr. Michael Milham, vice president of research at the Child Mind Institute and director of its Center for the Developing Brain and Healthy Brain Network initiatives. “By starting new dialogues and seeking investor support, we will be able to explore opportunities for putting these tools to work for millions of people.”

Investors interested in learning more about the Child Mind Institute’s research initiatives can contact techtransfer@childmind.org.

About the Child Mind Institute
The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain, and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most. Together with our supporters, we’re helping children reach their full potential in school and in life. We share all of our resources freely and do not accept any funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more at childmind.org.

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