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"I never fathomed I would own a company. With IURTC, I am able to focus on the science while they handle so many things on the back end."

Portrait of Professor Dawn Neumann, who developed a software program for video games that diagnose and treat emotional disorders, with help from IURTC.

Dr. Dawn Neumann, Assistant Research Professor of Medicine

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Dawn Neumann

Assistant Research Professor at IU School of Medicine and memeber of the Clinical Research Faculty at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana

Three years after a conversation with IURTC technology managers about the commercial potential of her research, Dawn Neumann owns a company that shows promise of paving the way for emotional health technologies.

EmotEd LLC, a SpinUp company, is breaking new ground by utilizing virtual environments for emotional rehabilitation. Based on Neumann’s research at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, EmotEd is developing video game software to diagnose and improve emotional health for populations with emotional deficits and disorders.

“There has been a lot of success in the marketplace for products designed to improve cognitive ability with companies like Lumosity. Now there is a huge opportunity for emotional health,” says Polina Feldman, the IURTC SpinUp associate working closely with Neumann.

With the help of IURTC, EmotEd received a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award of nearly $200,000 from the National Institutes of Health in 2014. The award allows EmotEd to build and test the prototype game, called Emotion Builder, with a team of local developers and experienced clinicians.

IURTC successfully trademarked the Emotion Builder and holds the copyrights for the software platform, which will focus on treating patients with traumatic brain injuries.

“Rehabilitation is shifting to utilize virtual environments, and EmotEd is leveraging all the advancements in technology to create a standardized product that can better translate to function in the real world,” Neumann says.

Neumann explains that the gap between research and commercialization is what keeps new products from getting to the people who need them most. IURTC’s services and the STTR program are bridging that gap for EmotEd, translating research into products.

“I am able to focus on the science while IURTC handles so many things on the back end,” Neumann says.

The Emotion Builder is set for pilot testing in spring 2015—one step closer to being in the hands of professionals to help them better treat their patients.

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