North Brunswick, NJ — Stroke victims, dementia sufferers, and patients who have sustained traumatic brain injuries can now incorporate virtual reality games into their rehabilitation therapy, thanks to technology developed by Bright Cloud International (BCI) Corp. The Rutgers University spinoff moved its operations into the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) earlier this March, expanding its footprint in the Garden State. CCIT, located in North Brunswick, is New Jersey’s leading life sciences incubator.
BCI’s proprietary BrightBrainerTM Rehabilitation System is a self-contained and mobile rehabilitation medical device with a suite of custom virtual reality therapeutic games. The games target various motor skills, including motor control, speed of movement, endurance, hand-eye coordination, and task sequencing. They also target cognitive abilities such as attention, short term visual and auditory memory, working memory, reading comprehension, and dual tasking. BrightBrainer Rehabilitation System is useful in a multitude of settings, including outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities and medical adult day programs, and is available for lease or purchase. A scientific team of researchers, engineers, physicians, therapists, and game developers created the games, which adapt to individual patients. In addition to improving motor and cognitive skills, BrightBrainerTM games have been found to benefit a patient’s emotional state, leading to an increased quality of life. “We know that the brain can rewire itself to bypass non-working neurons, so our technology helps patients build that bypass to regain use of their bodies,” BCI founder and president Grigore (Greg) Burdea, PhD, said. “It also puts a new and interactive spin on the monotony of occupational therapy, bringing an age-old industry into the 21st century.”
Burdea cited CCIT’s collaborative environment, its easy access to networking and investors, and its opportunities for increased visibility as reasons why he moved to the incubator. Businesses located at CCIT have access to a variety of professional and support services including open office hours by professional firms from the life sciences community. The 46,000 s/f incubator also offers tenants access to affordable lab space and offices, conference rooms, support staff, and a variety of additional resources. University spinoffs like BCI also can take advantage of discounted rent for the first year.
“Understanding and responding to the needs of the market is imperative to the State’s ability to retain and attract innovative companies and top talent,” EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “Nurturing early-stage companies is just one facet of Governor Murphy’s vision of a more robust and equitable economy, and CCIT offers a model of what can be achieved through collaboration between the private, public, and academic sectors.”
With a background in robotics and virtual rehabilitation, Dr. Burdea, who is originally from Romania, has been a professor at Rutgers University School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering for more than 30 years. Dr. Burdea’s work has been recognized both internationally and state-wide. He received the 2017 Virtual Reality Career Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his lifetime contribution to virtual and/or augmented reality. This is the highest and most prestigious honor in the field of virtual and augmented reality. In 2014, he received the New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award. BCI repeatedly received Small Business Innovation Research funding from National Institutes of Health, helping the medical device company to further its efforts. @NJEDATech spoke to Dr. Burdea about his experience in New Jersey and his company’s plans for the future:
Why did you choose to grow your company in New Jersey? Having spent the past 30 years here, I know the intrinsic value that New Jersey offers entrepreneurs, including its strong academic institutions and its dynamic life sciences community. I also wanted to maintain strong ties with Rutgers and to offer jobs for students and graduates. In return for the decades of support I have received from the university, I wanted to strengthen BCI while also benefitting Rutgers.
What have you found most useful about locating at CCIT? In addition to the abundant networking opportunities here, we have found the incubator’s large research and office space in a modern facility a great tool that offers an avenue for growth. What do you consider Bright Cloud’s biggest success to date?
Our biggest success to date is the BrightBrainerTM Rehabilitation System. I am proud that it reduces care costs, increases access to care, and improves therapy outcomes. What’s on the horizon for Bright Cloud? We want to become the go-to place in this exciting new medical specialty of virtual reality therapy. We also plan to attract additional investments that will help us grow.