Principal investigator: Meltem Izzetoglu

University: Villanova University

Industry partners: Infrascan

This is a collaborative proposal between Villanova University (VU) and Infrascan, Inc. (IS). Meltem Izzetoglu from VU brings expertise in optical brain imaging technology development, testing, and applications. Infrascan is a Pennsylvania based company that is involved in product design, development, and commercialization of optical brain monitoring devices. With the latest advances in technology, smart health devices have been developed, manufactured, and deployed, which increasingly has enabled point of care monitoring in everyday living and remote communication with health care providers. Current smart health devices can conveniently and efficiently monitor various physiological signals from the body such as heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Although it is one of the most vital organs, monitoring of the brain both physiologically and functionally in everyday settings remains a challenge. This is partially due to the fact that, until recently, existing neuromonitoring methods based on electrophysiology or magnetic resonance imaging would not allow wearable, battery operated, wireless, easy to use designs that can be reliably deployed in mobile, everyday settings. Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a technique that measures oxygenation levels in the brain related to cognitive functioning, from memory to decision making to motor functioning. Validation of fNIRS approach in brain imaging applications in relation to legacy techniques as well as recent progress in the instrumentation lends itself to design and development of noninvasive, portable, and affordable neuromonitoring devices in real life conditions. However, current commercially available fNIRS systems are still bulky, tethered, expensive, and mostly operable by a computer using complex interfaces, and thus not appropriate for self-monitoring. This collaborative project aims to design, develop, and manufacture a universal, comfortable, durable, affordable, and reliable platform based upon fNIRS technology that is miniaturized, fully wireless, and app-operable, which can accelerate cognitive health monitoring.