Tao Treasures LLC DBA Nanobiofab, a minority woman-owned nanotech startup in the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), is helping medical mannequins tell doctors where it hurts. The company, which creates revolutionary million-scale nanomaterial used in applications ranging from routine health monitoring to cancer detection, is working with West Virginia University (WVU) to improve clinical simulators. The million-dollar effort, initiated through the Defense Health Agency Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, starts in September at Nanobiofab (Frederick, MD) and the David and Jo Ann Shaw Center for Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safety (STEPS) at WVU in Morgantown, WV.
The goal is to advance the current high throughput inkjet-assisted nano printing and screening (IA-Nano) platform by developing novel nanomaterials to measure pressure and volatile chemical compounds, which aligns perfectly with Nanobiofab’s core technology. Ultimately, the end product will go beyond military and defense applications, raising the bar for medical training simulators worldwide with wireless, low-voltage and low-cost sensors that include matrix flexibility and easy integration.
Dr. Darrin Frye, Health Science Administrator and Medical Simulation Portfolio Manager at US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) Joint Program Committee -1 (JPC-1), is Nanobiofab’s SBIR Technical Point of Contact, and works with Medical Simulation, AI, and nanotechnology. He states that this effort is a step in the continuing quest to improve medical simulation across healthcare training.
Throughout the test period, a variety of novel Nanobiofab smart sensors will be installed into the chest, belly, mouth, and extremities of high-fidelity medical mannequins. As a measure of force, the sensors will register what a patient would feel during treatment. Other sensors will simulate certain odors commonly expressed by live bodies that help medical professionals assess illness and formulate possible remedies. This multi-sensory approach bridges the gap between classroom learning and hands-on clinical experience, giving medical students a greater depth of understanding.
Dr. Xiaonao Liu, Founder and CEO of Nanobiofab, is the project lead. She has nearly 20 years’ experience in nanomaterial science and printing engineering, having developed the industrialized high-throughput nanomaterial synthesis platform (patented). She explains, “If I were to push on you and ask, ‘Does this hurt?’ you could tell me. By integrating our sensor array into medical mannequins, doctors and other medical professionals in training get that same feedback quickly. This helps them understand how their actions would affect a living person and lets them fine-tune their practice.”
Kathie Callahan Brady is FITCI’s CEO and a Nanobiofab business advisor. She says, “I have watched this company really blossom. They joined FITCI at the very beginning of their journey and it was plain to see, even then, how much of an impact they could make on healthcare. The co-founders, Dr. Xiaonao Liu and Dr. Ruoting Yang, are both passionate and purpose-driven in pushing the limits of this technology because it has the potential to improve so many lives in so many different ways. This is just one example.”
WVU’s STEPS in one of the region’s premier training simulation centers, servicing 11 programs in 5 schools and a 700-bed tertiary care facility and is accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in Assessment, Research, Systems Integration and Teaching/Education. With 19,000 square feet of instructional space, STEPS has 18 staff, including 3 Simulation Education Specialists, a full-time educator and medical director. Some 30,000 learners, representing the full spectrum from novice to expert practitioners, come through the facility each year. STEPS will provide high-fidelity mannequins, simulation rooms, software, expertise, and study participants to complete the Phase II assessment.
Nanobiofab works with other leaders in the medical simulation industry, including CAE Healthcare, and is also developing a wearable nano-material based consumer product called INOSE. In INOSE, precise sensors provide practical, personalized insight into an individual’s health and metabolism.
For more information on Nanobiofab, visit Nanobiofab.com or FITCI.org.