Professor Milos Popovic (IBBME) has been named the recipient of the University Health Network (UHN) 2014 Inventor of the Year Award for his creation of MyndMove, a non-invasive device that delivers electrical stimulation to paralyzed muscles producing movement in arms and hands.
Popovic, a professor at the U of T Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is also the creative force behind a wheelchair sensory system designed to prevent pressure sores developed through a collaboration with SensiMAT Systems.
U of T News spoke to Popovic about the significance of the award and why MyndMove is a game changing intervention....
“The Inventor of the Year Award is meant to recognize inventions that have the potential to improve our quality of life,” said Professor Paul Young, vice-president (research and innovation). “The winning inventions represent the very best of innovation at U of T, and on behalf of the University, I extend my congratulations.”
To qualify for the award, entrants and their teams must be faculty members or trainees who disclosed their inventions to U of T’s Innovations and Partnerships Office within the past five years. Inventions are assessed based on their uniqueness, potential for global impact and commercial appeal.
Many of the inventions include students as co-inventors.
“More than two-thirds of all inventions disclosed at the University of Toronto have a student or post-doc as a co-inventor, and this is also reflected in the winning projects,” said Young. “We have several entrepreneurship education initiatives on campus, but in many ways, the best experience is practical.
“Students at U of T have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading inventors, and they’ll take that creative spirit with them wherever they go after graduation.”
The 2013 Inventors of the Year are…
… Milos Popovic (IBBME), Santa Huerta Olivares, Massimo Tarulli, Peter Lehn (ECE) and Aleksandar Prodic (ECE and Computer Engineering). The team is designing neuroprosthetic devices that help restore or replace nervous system function damaged by stroke or spinal cord injury....
At IBBME’s 50th Anniversary Symposium, ‘Defining Tomorrow: Advancing the Integration of Engineering and Medicine,’ speakers discussed the many regenerative medicine strategies currently being researched by engineers and scientists – from spinal cord injuries, to Alzheimer’s disease, to stroke patients.
Professor Milos Popovic, who holds the Toronto Rehab Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, described the success of his Functional Electronic Stimulation, or FES, in the treatment of cervical spinal nerve injuries that severely limit a person’s ability to grasp, move and hold objects.
"Patients must imagine movement," said Popovic during his presentation on the rehabilitation process involving FES. "They must struggle a bit. And then we turn on FES."
FES floods the nervous system with small, controlled bursts of electrical stimulation which has been shown to help regenerate key tissues in the nervous system. The FES treatments also shows evidence that it delays the progression of injuries to the ‘white matter,’ a trauma that further complicates rehabilitation....
The Government of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada gave U of T research a huge boost July 27 when it announced $42 million in investment to 158 U of T faculty members, as well as graduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral students.
The announcement was made by Steven Fletcher, federal Minister of State (Transport), while speaking at U of T’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biolmolecular Research…
…One of those faculty members is Professor Milos Popovic of U of T’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and Toronto Rehab. Popovic will use funding awarded to him through the Discovery Grants and Discovery Accelerator Supplements in his research on spinal cord injuries....
A new treatment approach which uses tiny bursts of electricity to reawaken paralyzed muscles “significantly” reduced disability and improved grasping in people with incomplete spinal cord injuries, beyond the effects of standard therapy, newly published research shows.
In a study published online in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Toronto researchers report that functional electrical stimulation (FES) therapy worked better than conventional occupational therapy alone to increase patients’ ability to pick up and hold objects. FES therapy uses low-intensity electrical pulses generated by a pocket-sized electric stimulator.
“This study proves that by stimulating peripheral nerves and muscles, you can actually ‘retrain’ the brain,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Milos Popovic of the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, a Senior Scientist at Toronto Rehab and head of the hospital’s Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team. “A few years ago, we did not believe this was possible.”
Study participants who received the stimulation therapy also saw big improvements in their
independence and ability to perform everyday activities such as dressing and eating, said Popovic. “This has real implications for people’s quality of life and independence, and for their