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Edison Awards focus on innovative advances in a number of fields

A robotic hand to help the blind or deaf communicate. Earbuds that allow a blink of the eye or nod of the head to control digital devices.

A therapy to treat glaucoma. A software device to help people with PTSD. A cheaper way to make holograms. A more efficient way to raise aquaculture.

These were just a few of the winners of the Edison Best New Products announced last week at the Edison Awards in downtown Fort Myers.

Gold, silver and bronze winners were selected in 48 categories.

Many of the winners and non-winners were on display during the two-day Edison Awards event. Some of the innovators traveled from as far off as South Korea, Australia and Taiwan to display their products.

Tatum Robotics was the winner for Engineering & Robotics/Advanced Technologies. Samantha Johnson created the idea while doing her masters’ thesis at Northeastern University. Johnson, 25, started the company in Boston, after graduating.

Tatum stands for Tactile, ASL, Translational Use Machine.

The blind or deaf communicate by feeling the movements of holding on to the backs of a signer’s hand. The robotic hand does the same thing. You can type in a word and the hand sign the word. It also can pull in email, news, stories and other media.

“There’s no learning curve,” Johnson said. “So, people come up to us understanding what we’ve done and that’s why I think we get such great reaction. We get hugs, we get tears because that’s exactly how they’re use to getting it.”

NAQI Logix was named one of the top 100 inventions by Time magazine. Now, it can add the Edison Awards gold medal. It won in the Assistive Technologies for Accessibility category. NAQI, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, developed neural earbuds, “allowing an eye blink or head tilt to control digital devices, empowering the disabled.”

The earbuds allow the user to control a wheelchair, smart phone, computer and other items with only facial movements. The earbuds are an alternative to a brain implant.

The idea began 10 years ago when founder Dave Segal read a story about an Iraq war veteran who was getting a thought-controlled prosthetic arm after losing his limbs.

“As a technologist I thought to myself, is thought control even real,” he said during an Edison Awards demonstration.

He thought to himself, could he create a neural interface that would allow somebody to command a wheelchair or use a computer hands-free and voice free. He got the idea of putting the interface in earbuds during a brainstorming session.

Dronut, a drone that fits in the palm of the hand, won the gold for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Technology.

Omar Eleryan is co-founder and CEO of Cleo, the Boston-based maker of the drone. The drone can fit into tight spaces that would be difficult or impossible for a person to fit.

Eleryan and his co-founder Carmen Czarnota came up with the idea while working in the oil and gas industry after college.

“I myself had to do inspections going underground to look around to take pictures as an engineer and the idea was why do people have to do these types of jobs, why not automate them,” Eleryan said.

General Motors, Chevron and Space X are some of Dronut’s customers, he said. Cleo also sells to the military and police.

Winning the Gold in the Products for Home Use category was Automist 13D by Plumis. The company has reimagined the fire sprinkler to better serve the insurer, the installer and the homeowner. Automist 13D provides rapid activation for enhanced life protection and uses less water to safeguard your possessions. It blends seamlessly into the smart home with its modern wall-mounted design, whilst eliminating large tanks and leak concerns.

Some other winners:

  • Automist 13D, by Plumis. A smart fire sprinkler that uses less water.
  • HoloXmed, by National Taiwan University Hospital. Quickly turns 2D CT scans into 3D holograms.
  • Hologram Technology, Axiom Holographics. Through new methods makes higher quality holograms at much lower cost.
  • Shrimpbox by Atarraya Inc. Uses AI and biotechnology in modular boxes for aquaculture such as shrimp farming.
  • Prism for PTSD by GrayMatters Health. Software device to register fMRI amygdala amygdata data with EEG.
  • Cionic Neural Sleeve by CIONIC. AI-powered bionic clothing that improves mobility.
  • Glide by Glidance. Advanced mobility aid. No longer need a cane or guide dog.

 View all the winners and their innovations at 2024 Winners – Edison Awards

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