SOURCE: e-Merge Medical Technologies

May 02, 2006 10:54 ET

NIH Awards Boise-Based e-Merge Medical Technologies 'Novel Data Capture and Assessment Technology for Autism'

BOISE, ID -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 2, 2006 -- e-Merge Medical Technologies, a leading medical technology services company and founder of web-based resource TalkAutism, has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the impact of special video capture to more effectively assess and treat children with autism.

"This video capture technology has real promise to provide Behavior Imaging™ (BI) for all of healthcare -- where currently there is no helpful imaging modality. When fully developed, rural families, teachers and doctors could use this to get specialty help for children with autism, and improve assessment, treatment and research for more broad behavioral and mental disorders. People are very interested in what we're doing -- we've already had NBC Atlanta out to our site," says Ron Oberleitner, president and founder of e-Merge Medical Technologies, LLC.

e-Merge will evaluate and further develop a video collection technology called B.I. Capture™, a system designed to record, annotate and share behaviors from their natural environments, and can be viewed remotely by authorized professionals. This data should allow educators to more credibly perform Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) in schools, which underpin the intervention plans designed for these students. The proposed technology, developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will permit educators to record behaviors judged to be important for later retrieval and review.

The technology also features some capabilities particularly useful for the capturing of behaviors. "B.I. Capture features proprietary 'experience buffers,' which function as an alternative for recording 100% of behavioral events, and can help a professional (or caregiver) capture behaviors BEFORE one notices them," explains Dr. Gregory Abowd. Abowd is a world-renowned computing and video expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a former Rhodes Scholar, father of two children with autism and inventor of B.I. Capture's technology.

In phase I of the process, e-Merge and Georgia Institute of Technology will modify the preliminary system for use in a school environment aided by advice from focus groups, explore the potential privacy/legal hurdles, and assess feasibility in a small pilot study.

Dr. Uwe Reischl, Director of the Center of Health Policy for Boise State University, has researched some of the technology's attributes, and is optimistic about the widespread adoption of B.I. Capture, once it is exhaustively pilot tested in the field. "The need is so great to communicate behaviors to better understand and treat them," says Dr. Reischl. "The current available solutions are so limited and inadequate to deal with the increasing incidence of autism that is treated in both the home and school environments."

Rick Ritter, Director of Technology Outreach at BSU's TECenter, which assists companies in finding R&D funding for their innovative ideas, emphasizes that "this is a highly competitive process within those Federal agencies that have SBIR/STTR programs and e-Merge's selection demonstrates the cutting edge work being done by Idaho companies."

About Autism

Autism is one of the fastest-growing and most prevalent childhood developmental disorders in the United States, affecting as many as one in every 166 births (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Autism is a neurological disorder that interferes with normal development in language, intuitive thought, social interaction and an ability to connect with surroundings.

About e-Merge Medical Technologies

e-MERGE Medical Technologies ( specializes in working with emerging and established companies and universities who have innovative technology, but limited market development experience in the healthcare technology market. e-Merge helps accelerate the release of relevant products and services to the health marketplace.

About SBIR

SBIR, (Small Business Innovation Research Program) is a government sponsored, highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Ron Oberleitner
    e-Merge Medical Technologies

    Gregory Abowd PhD
    Professor of Computing
    Georgia Tech

    Randall Kirkpatrick
    The Kirkpatrick Group