Taking Brainy & Beautiful To a New Level: Cori Lathan
Dr. Cori Lathan is one of the most interesting women scientists and entrepreneurs I’ve come across, and it is an honor to share her story as part of my ongoing series of profiles of inspiring people making a big difference. I was introduced to Dr. Lathan through a colleague at my company (GENBAND), when one of her inventions (a mobile application for testing for brain trauma) was recently approved by the FDA.
One of only a handful of mobile applications to be approved, her DANA Brain Assessment Tool has been picking up steam after having been selected by one of the largest government agencies in the world to test for brain trauma in the battlefield. An Edison Awards Finalist, the DANA application created by Dr. Lathan’s company AnthroTronix was featured this year at SXSW.
This mobile application can be used on phones or tablets on both iOS and Android operating systems to assess and measure brain health in real time. This application was cleared by the FDA for use in October 2014 (which took two years). DANA stands for “Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment.”
The DANA application can be used by many different sectors to help evaluate the brain function of individuals, including:
- Education: to evaluate when injured students are ready to return to the classroom or field after head injury
- Healthcare: to check brain functions as regularly as you have your blood pressure checked as a preventative tool (tracking cognitive functioning over-time; determining the on-set of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s and screening for conditions like fatigue and depression for example)
- Rehabilitation: include in tele-monitoring systems, monitoring changes in the cognitive function of a patient after illness, stroke or a traumatic accident, sending information through the cloud to the care team
- Government: determine fitness for duty, the cause and severity of an impairment and assess the “cognitive or behavioral issues related to job stress” and the original battlefield applications
- Pharmaceutical: determine the “cognitive efficiency” of medications through a non-subjective evaluation
DANA is just one invention born out of Dr. Lathan’s main company, AnthroTronix. Other products and solutions includebiomedical assistive devices (CosmoBot and Learning System, educational software, stroke rehabilitation glove, etc.); human machine interfaces (several different gloves that can be used to detect movements aiding communication and control robotic devices, some are used by the military including HACS); simulation and training (several simulation training programs for training everything from remotely controlling an unmanned vehicle to training and maintaining laparoscopic surgical skills, etc); and defense and security devices (Mounted Force controller, Vibro-Tactile Feedback belt, COMMAND system).
AnthroTronix was founded in July 1999 by Dr. Lathan and Jack Maxwell Vice. AnthroTronix is a research and development company that specializes in developing advanced technology that interfaces with humans for medical, educational, military, therapeutic purposes. Most of their products involve “wearable computing and robotic control systems.”
One could say Dr. Lathan is literally – a rocket scientist! She has a B.A. in Biopsychology and Mathematics from Swarthmore College, and an S.M. in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from MIT.
She is a champion for teaching women and girls about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and empowering them to join this career field. She founded Keys for Empowering Youth; a program designed to teach young women about STEM and give them an outlet to participate in activities involved within these fields.
She also supports developing healthcare technology in the developing world through participating as a Board member of Engineering World Health, in addition to being on the Advisory Board for Amman Imman –Water for Life.
With a background in human performance engineering, assistive technology and medical device design, she has created solutions that help children with disabilities. Her work has been featured in various publications including New Yorker, TIME and Forbes magazines. She has also received many awards including:
- Young Global Leader Award, world Economic Forum
- Top Innovator of the Year in Maryland
- Most Creative People in Business, Fast Company Magazine
- Top 100 World innovators, MIT Technology Review
- Innovators Under 35, MIT Technology Review
Her TED Talk is great fun and very inspiring to watch!
In the talk, Dr. Lathan talks about “Innovation, Empathy, and the Future of Human-Machine Interaction” – and she is clearly expert and intuitively connected to all three.
Join me in following her and her team’s progress – the work they are doing can make a tremendous difference in the lives of millions!
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