Date: Jun 19, 2018 Source: ALS (
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Innovation plays a key role in The ALS Association's fight to develop treatments and a cure for ALS and to empower people living with the disease to live their lives to the fullest. During June and July, we are celebrating some of the key innovations helping us change the nature of ALS forever.
Frustrated with the limited availability of assistive technology devices for his mother, who was diagnosed with ALS, Dexter Ang quit his finance job, partnered with David Cipoletta, an underwater robotic engineer, and set to work developing technologies that could universally, massively, and quickly improve the quality of life for people living with ALS.
Dexter and David named their start-up Pison Technology after Ang's mother's cat, who provided her with comfort.
"It was an honor for us to participate in and win a prize at the Assistive Technology Challenge because it validated that our technology is at the forefront of innovation for people with ALS," said Dexter. "The world needs technologies like ours to be able to help all patients worldwide. The ALS Association, along with NASA, will be major partners with us as we do our research and as we begin distribution and sales of our product worldwide."
People living with ALS maintain cognitive function but lose the ability to speak, write, type, and gesture.
Assistive technology for communication is life-changing for them, helping them:
become more independent and participate more actively with their family and community;
have access to the Internet, which provides an outlet to meet others for additional support; and
communicate more easily about medical decisions, their feelings, requests, and opinions, or simply say, "I love you."
The ALS Association recognized the significant need for more advanced assistive technology to help people with ALS communicate and launched the ALS Assistive Technology Challenge, in partnership with Prize4Life. The challenge was open to academics, industry, new start-ups, and anyone who believed they could make a difference.
The winner of the $100,000 prize was Pison Technology.
The company now has 11 employees and has grown the initial $100,000 investment to $1.7 million through local, federal, and angel investor grants.
(l --> r) Kyle Conners, who helped test the Pison innovation, with Dexter Ang and David Cipoletta Pison Technology team
Dexter and his team have made tremendous progress developing their wearable muscle sensor technology. They have invented patent-pending techniques for biopotential sensing, to detect the smallest muscle movements, and established industrial grade partners for development and distribution.
Pison is dedicated to enabling and empowering all people regardless of physical ability to have access to methods of communication and computing, with a sharp focus on people living with ALS. The goal is to bring their assistive technology products to market as quickly as possible and plan to test their prototypes with people with ALS this year.
"Dexter and the rest of the Pison team have made great progress developing technology to help people with ALS. We're already seeing a tremendous return on our initial investment and proud to be early supporters," said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of The ALS Association.