While completing his residency in Boston, Albert Kwon ’08 started a mental list of things he wanted to improve in the medical system.
“I took note of many problems in medicine that I thought technology could potentially solve,” says Kwon, who is training in general pediatrics and general anesthesia at both Boston Children’s and Brigham and Women’s hospitals. And there was one area where he thought he could have the most impact. “I was yearning to create a solution to share the knowledge of rehab exercises in brain trauma cases.”
In true mind and hand fashion, Kwon took the initiative to solve the problem himself, co-founding AUGMENTx, a healthcare technology company that utilizes augmented reality to deliver neurological rehabilitation therapy. “We believe our system will add value to the current patient journey of recovering from stroke, chronic pain, limb loss, and other surgeries that require rehabilitation therapy,” says Kwon.
While still in the early stages of developing the company, Kwon and his cofounders were looking for help—that’s when they discovered Solve, an MIT initiative that brings together ideas and solutions from individuals and groups around the world focused on solving society’s most pressing challenges through open innovation and partnership. “We wanted our solution to reach as far as it could to benefit more patients and medical systems,” says Kwon. “We thought Solve would be a great community to join to keep our global vision and seek partners to help us realize that.”
Kwon and his team submitted their solution to Solve’s specific brain health challenge and were accepted to the 2017 Solve class. The way it works, is that Solve picks four challenges each year and opens it up to anyone, anywhere in the world to submit a solution. The solutions can range from just an idea, to a prototype, to a company looking to scale.
After all submissions are reviewed, the top choices in each category are chosen to attend a finalist pitch in New York in September. Teams who are chosen as Solvers following the pitch are then given access to the resources in the Solve community, which includes advisors who help you develop the idea. At the time they were chosen, AUGMENTx had a prototype but were still working on optimizing and improving the user experience.
Since their involvement in Solve, AUGMENTx has gained greater exposure and access to expertise to help improve their product, as well as many mentors and advisors to enable them to achieve a product that is most useful for clinics and hospitals. Currently, they have several hospitals and rehabilitation centers piloting their therapy platform to further improve and validate the technology.
“Reimagining how rehab therapy is delivered by providing digital therapy experiences on an augmented reality platform will not only be helpful in the United States but especially useful in countries that do not have any access to rehabilitation medicine.”
AUGMENTx is one of hundreds of game-changing initiatives that have gained exposure through the MIT Solve program. This year’s Solve challenges include coastal communities, frontlines of health, teachers and educators, and work of the future. Think you have a solution that could solve these problems? Submit your idea to Solve. The deadline to submit a draft solution application is July 1, 2018.