Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

What is the name of your organization?

Apricity Robotics

What is the name of your solution?

R-REA Remote Healthcare Platform

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

R-REA: telehealth-driven robotic system revolutionizing echocardiogram imaging through AI-enhanced accuracy and accessibility.

What specific problem are you solving?

The global demand for echocardiograms, a crucial tool in cardiac diagnostics, is rising, driven by an aging population and increasing cardiac ailments. However, the accessibility to this diagnostic tool is hampered by several factors:

  1. Expertise Scarcity: Cardiac sonographers, those trained to conduct echocardiograms, are in short supply. This has led to long waiting times for patients, particularly in areas underserved by healthcare professionals.

  2. Consistency in Imaging: Echocardiograms are operator-dependent. Variability in operator skill can lead to inconsistencies in image quality, affecting diagnosis accuracy.

  3. Geographical Disparities: Rural and remote regions globally often lack the facilities and professionals required for echocardiogram procedures. This creates a healthcare disparity where certain populations are disadvantaged due to geographical location.

Scale and Statistics:

  • As of 2023, with the increasing patient population over the age of 50, the global diagnostic ultrasound market has been valued at around $9.3 billion.
  • In the U.S. alone, approximately 7,000,000 echocardiograms are performed annually, and this is just a fraction of the global need.
  • The World Health Organization reports that up to 40% of global populations lack access to essential diagnostic services, including echocardiography.

Factors Relating to Our Solution:

Our solution, R-REA, specifically targets the shortage of specialized personnel and the inconsistencies in echocardiogram imaging:

  1. Automated Assistance: R-REA robotic arm, guided by state-of-the-art AI algorithms, offers consistent, high-quality imaging, reducing the variability seen with human operators.
  2. Telehealth Integration: The telehealth-driven nature of R-REA means that experts from urban centers can remotely guide or review the echocardiogram procedure, bridging the accessibility gap for those in remote or underserved locations.
  3. Training and Scaling: RREA has the potential to function as a training tool, aiding the next generation of cardiac sonographers in mastering the intricacies of echocardiogram imaging.

Our mission with R-REA is not just to bring state-of-the-art technology to echocardiography but to ensure that every individual, regardless of their location, has access to this critical diagnostic tool.

What is your solution?

Our solution, R-REA, is like a "remote smart assistant" for heart imaging. Imagine a robot arm equipped with an ultrasound tool, which can automatically move and adjust to capture clear images of the heart. Here's a breakdown:

  1. Robotic Assistant: At its core, R-REA uses a robot arm that can gently and accurately place an ultrasound device on a patient to see the heart's images.

  2. Intelligent Guidance: This robot is guided by artificial intelligence, which means it's trained to know where to move and how to adjust to get the best images. Trained from the top experts in echocardiography, it's like having a virtual expert guiding the robot's every move!

  3. Remote Expertise: Doctors or specialists from anywhere can remotely watch and guide the process. So, even if the patient is in a small town, they can benefit from a big city's expert advice. 

  4. Consistent and Clear: With R-REA, the images of the heart are consistently clear and precise, helping doctors diagnose heart conditions more accurately.

In a nutshell, R-REA combines the best of robotics, artificial intelligence, and telemedicine to make heart imaging easier, clearer, and accessible to all.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our target population primarily comprises individuals residing in underserved and remote communities where specialized medical expertise, particularly in cardiology, is limited or sporadically available. Here's a closer look:

  1. Rural and Remote Populations: Many individuals in rural regions lack easy access to major medical facilities, which means they often miss out on or don't have the means to acquire specialized, but critically important, diagnostic procedures like echocardiograms. This delay can result in late or missed diagnoses of heart conditions.

  2. Economically Marginalized Communities: Even within urban settings, economically disadvantaged populations often struggle to afford specialized medical services. They might live in "medical deserts" where certain medical specialties are scarce or inaccessible due to cost barriers.

  3. Aging Populations: As people age, the risk of heart diseases increases, necessitating regular cardiac check-ups. Elderly individuals, especially those with mobility issues, find it challenging to travel for specialized medical tests.

Prioritizing Patient Needs:

  • Accessibility: By deploying R-REA in local clinics or community health centers, we aim to bring expert echocardiographic services closer to these populations. They won't need to travel long distances or wait for an expert's availability.

  • Affordability: With the automation that R-REA brings, the cost per procedure can be significantly reduced. This affordability can be passed on to patients, ensuring that more individuals can access and benefit from this essential diagnostic service.

  • Quality and Safety: Despite being remotely operated, R-REA promises high-quality imaging, consistent with what a patient might receive in a top-tier hospital. Additionally, the robot is designed with patient safety in mind, ensuring gentle interactions.

  • Empowerment through Education: R-REA isn't just about diagnostics. We envision the system to educate patients about their heart health, using visual aids and simple explanations. When patients understand their health, they are better equipped to make informed decisions.

In essence, our solution strives to bridge the healthcare disparity gap, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their location or economic status, has the right to timely, affordable, and quality cardiac care.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our team’s composition and collaboration are rooted in a profound understanding of the community we serve. Our strength lies not just in technical expertise but also in our direct experience and relationships with these communities. Here's a detailed look:

  1. RN on the Founding Team: One of our team members, having previously served as a Registered Nurse (RN), brings a wealth of practical insights. Their firsthand experiences in treating patients in Columbus, OH, especially from underserved communities, have provided our team with a deep understanding of their unique challenges and needs.

  2. Advisory Board with Direct Community Experience: Our advisory board boasts a cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic, who serves as the Director of Population Health for Heart Failure. In this role, he is focused on scaling efforts to improve heart failure care across a large integrated system. He is a member of the Heart Failure Collaboratory (HFC) and serves on their digital health committee. He is a staff physician in the Cleveland Clinic Amyloidosis Center. This association provides us with a direct line to understand the intricacies of cardiac health and the specific challenges faced by the larger community. His role aligns perfectly with our mission to serve broader communities, ensuring that our solution isn’t just technically proficient but also culturally sensitive and relevant.

  3. Engagement with Community-focused Hospitals: By actively collaborating with hospitals that have a strong focus on community medicine, we ensure our solutions are tailored for real-world challenges. These hospitals give us a platform to test, iterate, and refine our robot based on actual patient feedback and medical staff insights.

We believe in a bottom-up approach, where community input is not just welcomed but actively sought. Our engagement strategy includes:

  • Feedback Loops: Periodic consultations with community health workers, patients, and local clinics give us feedback on the effectiveness and user-friendliness of R-REA. This ensures that our solution remains grounded and responsive to the community's evolving needs.

  • Educational Workshops: We conduct workshops in collaboration with our community-focused hospitals to educate residents about cardiac health and the importance of timely diagnostics. These workshops double up as feedback sessions where we learn directly from potential end-users.

  • Community Representation: Our collaboration with hospitals and the presence of an RN on the team ensures that the voice of the community is always present in our design and decision-making processes. Their experiences and perspectives guide our design choices, ensuring that R-REA is not just a product but a solution shaped by the community.

In conclusion, our team, guided by the community's insights, is in a unique position to deliver a solution that's not only innovative but also deeply resonant with the real needs and challenges of the communities we serve. We are not just creating a solution for the community; we are crafting it with the community.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Augmenting and assisting human caregivers.
  • Creating and streamlining human-centered processes for delivering, providing equitable access to, managing and paying for healthcare.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Columbus, OH, USA

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model, but which is not yet serving anyone

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development)
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Aaron Crookes, CEO

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our Remote Robotic Echocardiogram Assistant (R-REA) is innovative in the way it applies technology to healthcare. While robotics have been used for decades in operating rooms, the technology has been unrealized in other applications. Our product will augment the skill of cardiac sonographers, reduce injury in their work, create efficiency and access in patient care, and allow for the education of others to perform echocardiograms. Ultimately, the R-REA will significantly improve how specialized sonographers provide ultrasounds, thus catalyzing broader impacts in the healthcare space.

The R-REA enables specialized healthcare professionals to remotely provide cardiac ultrasound services–transthoracic echocardiograms, to be exact. This approach dramatically expands access to specialized care in areas where attracting or maintaining skilled technicians is a challenge. This fundamental shift in service delivery transcends geographical constraints and ensures that patients in remote or underserved areas receive the same quality of care as those in urban centers.

Our solution enhances healthcare system efficiency by allowing staff talent to be optimally utilized and reducing the need of transporting a patient to a more expensive, populated health center. Specialized professionals can focus on their core areas of expertise, while routine ultrasounds can be conducted by remote experts. This new approach streamlines resource allocation, reducing patient waiting times and improving the overall quality of healthcare services.

We employ technology to up-skill general ultrasound technicians in cardiac imaging. This approach not only addresses the issue of a limited number of graduates with echocardiography certification but also ensures that healthcare institutions have a continuous supply of skilled professionals. This innovation enhances the adaptability and versatility of the healthcare workforce.

The knowledge and expertise gained through this solution can be applied to various ultrasound specialties, including venous, obstetrics, and pediatrics.

Our solution extends beyond national boundaries, enabling its application in countries struggling to provide effective ultrasound services. This has the potential to revolutionize healthcare access on a global scale, reducing disparities and improving global health outcomes.

By reducing the time required to acquire ultrasound images, our solution promotes a shift from reactive to proactive care. Early access to diagnostic information enables more effective disease management, particularly in the context of cardiovascular conditions. This transition has the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

Our solution aligns with the concurrent development and implementation of AI programs in healthcare. By developing our technology to acquire more ultrasounds, we complement these AI advancements to create innovations which speed up the time between ordering an echocardiogram and having it completed and interpreted.

In conclusion, our innovative solution not only addresses the critical healthcare challenge of providing democratized access to cardiac imaging but also has the potential to catalyze positive impacts throughout the general ultrasound industry, foster global health equity, and drive market changes that prioritize accessible, efficient, and high-quality care.

How does your solution address or plan to address UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 for Good Health and Well-Being?

The continued development of R-REA will directly aid in UN Target 3.4 by enabling increased cardiac imaging acquisition for rural, symptomatic patients–some of whom may be pregnant women. The impact of screening pregnant mothers for cardiovascular diseases (which contribute to a significant portion of maternal mortality globally) with our device will allow for the transthoracic echocardiogram imaging as a screening/diagnosing tool. We hope this will culminate in earlier identification and treatment of cardiovascular conditions than the speed of care is currently able to provide .

Additionally, Target 3.8, which aims to provide equitable and affordable access to essential health services, will be addressed by the R-REA. Cardiac imaging is essential for diagnosing and disease management, but it is also currently expensive to support the conditions which allow for this non-invasive, relatively fast ultrasound to be performed. A technology like the R-REA will democratize the cost of ultrasound by reducing the need to transport echocardiography technicians to and from areas where patients need this ultrasound.

Later, as we grow into other ultrasound specialties, we will be able to service obstetric ultrasounds to provide diagnosing and their specialized treatment areas which aligns with the 3.1 target.

Lastly, our R-REA will align with Target 3.c by increasing the ability of developing countries’ ability to train individuals on cardiac sonography (ultrasound image acquisition) and alleviate the stress and musculoskeletal injury which drives sonographers out of the workforce.

Describe the AI components and underlying data that powers your solution.

  1. Ultrasound Image Analysis Module: Using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), this module automatically processes and analyzes ultrasound images to detect anomalies or signs of potential cardiac issues. The AI assesses the ultrasound image quality, ensures its accuracy, and highlights areas of concern for further evaluation by medical professionals.

  2. Robot Control Mechanism: A combination of Long Short-Term Memory networks (LSTMs) and Reinforcement Learning is utilized to teach the robot arm to navigate and adjust its position based on the feedback from the ultrasound transducer and the vision system. This allows R-REA to adapt in real-time to different patient anatomies and positions.

  3. Predictive Health Analytics: Using historical and real-time data, our AI system can make predictions about potential future cardiac health issues. This forecasting model can identify at-risk individuals, allowing for proactive medical interventions.

Underlying Data Powering R-REA:

  1. Ultrasound Image Dataset: We are working to curated dataset comprising thousands of ultrasound images, both normal and those depicting various cardiac conditions. We are curating this data using training echocardiogram simulators, imaging ourselves, and contracting experts to image non-patient healthy students on university campuses. This data, anonymized to protect patient privacy, serves as the training bed for our CNN models.

  2. Patient Interaction Data: Data generated from each interaction with the robot, such as robot positioning, force exerted, and patient feedback, is continually fed into our LSTM and reinforcement learning models. This continuous learning ensures that R-REA gets better with each interaction.

  3. Historical Health Records: With appropriate permissions, we integrate anonymized historical health records to fine-tune our predictive analytics module, allowing for more accurate risk profiling.

Plan for Acquiring Good, Curated Data:

  1. Partnerships with Hospitals: Collaborations with community-focused hospitals will provide us with a steady stream of real-world ultrasound images and patient interaction data, ensuring our models are trained on diverse and comprehensive datasets.

  2. Data Augmentation: To increase the variety in our datasets and improve the robustness of our models, we utilize data augmentation techniques. This involves making slight modifications to existing images, such as rotations and zooms, to artificially expand our dataset.

  3. Anonymization and Privacy: Patient privacy is paramount. All data used is thoroughly anonymized and stripped of personally identifiable information. Our systems are designed with privacy by default, ensuring data is used solely for model improvement and not for any other purpose.

  4. Feedback Mechanism: Medical professionals using R-REA have a built-in feedback mechanism to validate or correct the AI's findings. This iterative feedback is invaluable for model refinement and ensuring the system's reliability.

How are you ensuring ethical and responsible use of AI in your work? How are you addressing or mitigating potential risks in your solution?

As R-REA aims to revolutionize cardiac care with AI, we are deeply committed to ethical and responsible AI deployment. By proactively addressing potential risks and emphasizing collaboration with medical professionals, we ensure that our technology remains a reliable and trusted tool in healthcare:

  1. Data Privacy and Anonymization: All patient data utilized by R-REA is anonymized, ensuring that no personally identifiable information is ever accessed by our system. As we collect data, we will use industry standard encryption techniques to protect data at rest and in transit. Our commitment to HIPAA and GDPR compliance ensures that patient privacy is never compromised.

  2. Bias Mitigation: Recognizing that medical datasets can inadvertently perpetuate biases, our team proactively takes steps to ensure diverse representation in our training datasets. We source data from a variety of demographics and geographies, and our models undergo regular evaluations for potential biases, with corrective measures applied as necessary.

  3. Transparency and Explainability: While AI often operates as a "black box," we emphasize creating models that offer explainable outputs. When our AI identifies an anomaly or makes a prediction, it highlights areas in images that it believes influence it's behavior, ensuring that medical professionals can understand and trust our AI's decisions.

  4. Human-in-the-loop: Despite the automation, R-REA is designed to work alongside medical professionals, not replace them. AI's findings serve as suggestions, leaving the final diagnosis and medical decisions in the hands of qualified healthcare practitioners.

  5. Continuous Monitoring: We have set up systems to continually monitor the AI's performance. Any anomalies or unexpected behaviors are flagged for review, ensuring that the AI remains consistent and reliable.

Addressing Potential Risks:

  1. Security Concerns: With the rise of cyber threats, particularly in the healthcare sector, we employ state-of-the-art cybersecurity protocols, including regular penetration testing, multi-factor authentication, and firewall protections, to guard against potential breaches.

  2. Policy Implications: We engage with legal and ethical experts to stay informed about evolving policy landscapes related to AI in healthcare. By doing so, we ensure that R-REA remains compliant with both local and international regulations.

  3. Ethical Risks at Scale: As R-REA scales, there's a potential risk of over-reliance on automation. To address this, we emphasize training and educational modules for medical professionals, highlighting the collaborative nature of R-REA and the importance of human judgment.

  4. Misdiagnoses: While our AI is rigorously trained, there's always a minimal chance of errors. To mitigate this, we continually update our models with new data and feedback, and we encourage a dual-check system where AI suggestions are always verified by human professionals.

  5. Equipment Malfunction: With any hardware, there's a risk of malfunction. R-REA's robotic system has built-in safety measures, continuously measuring end point force and torques as well as individual joint forces and currents to immediately halt operations if anomalies are detected, protecting both the patient and the equipment.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

The R-REA is understandably complex form of technology and workflow integration that requires our team to track milestones and proceed with excellence. To make it a reality, our team at Apricity Robotics aims to provide proof of technology evidence in the way of prototype interaction and demo to early-adopting clinicians and engaged health systems by autumn of 2024. Over the next year, we are working towards providing this revolutionary advancement by pursuing regulatory approval, intellectual property protection, product development, market validation and obtaining letters of intent from clinical champions. We will also have a fully developed clinical trial strategy for evaluating safety, quality of ultrasound results, and sonographer workflow productivity.

By 2028, Apricity Robotics will have over 50 R-REA products implemented at multiple healthcare sites and enabling the acquisition of over 1000 echocardiograms a day while reducing the musculoskeletal injury to sonographers and reducing wait time for patients in the health systems utilizing the product. This will have been possible because of successful regulatory approval, effective clinical trial results, education and orientation of customers’ sonographers to the devices, and by partnerships with health associations and investors.

Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

Our team is comprised of: 

  • 1 full time
  • 2 part time (one person at 50-70%, one person at 25-50%)
  • 3 contractors
  • 3 advisory board members

How long have you been working on your solution?

Apricity was awarded our NSF SBIR Phase I grant in November 2022. Aaron (the founder and CEO) left his career at Procter and Gamble in robotics and AI R&D to work full time on this solution starting in December 2022.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Diversity, equity, and inclusivitythey are integral to our mission and vision. We believe that to truly revolutionize cardiac care, we need a team and a solution that understands, values, and caters to the myriad nuances of the global community.
  1. Diverse Representation: Our  team reflects a diverse array of backgrounds, both professionally and personally. By having leaders from different ethnicities, genders, and life experiences, we ensure a variety of perspectives that drive inclusive decision-making.

  2. Community Engagement: Recognizing that diversity goes beyond our organization, we've forged partnerships with hospitals focusing on community medicine. These hospitals often serve diverse populations, ensuring that our solutions are tailored to a wide audience. Our collaboration with these institutions ensures that R-REA is not just technologically advanced, but also culturally competent.

  3. Feedback Mechanisms: We have established channels where team members can provide feedback on diversity and inclusion matters. This not only helps us identify areas of improvement but also empowers our team members to actively participate in shaping a more inclusive environment.

  4. Advisory Board Composition: Our advisory board, including the Director of Population Health for Heart Failure from the Cleveland Clinic, ensures that we stay informed about the diverse needs of patients. Their expertise and insights from various backgrounds enable us to design solutions that cater to a broad demographic.

  5. Designing for Inclusivity: In the development of R-REA, we ensure that the data sets used for AI training are diverse. This ensures that our AI models are not biased and can cater to the varied needs of different populations, addressing healthcare disparities in the process.

  6. Team's Proximity to the Cause: With a team member who has previously served as an RN, we have firsthand insights into the needs and challenges of healthcare providers. This proximity to the ground realities ensures that our solutions are not just technologically driven but are also deeply empathetic and patient-centered.

Your Operational Plan & Funding

What is your operational model and plan?

1. Current Team Structure and Organization:

  • Development Team: Responsible for refining and enhancing R-REA AI capabilities, ensuring our technology remains cutting-edge.
  • Clinical Collaboration Team: Consisting of healthcare professionals, including our advisory board member from the Cleveland Clinic, this team ensures our solutions are clinically relevant.
  • Outreach and Implementation Team: Tasked with fostering partnerships, they engage hospitals, clinics, and other potential partners.
  • Supporting Roles: They handle grant fiscal compliance, organizational responsibilities, investor relations, and financial strategy and tracking.

2. Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Healthcare Institutions: We are and continue to form partnerships with hospitals, especially those with a focus on community medicine, to test and implement R-REA.

  • Regulatory Bodies: Engaging with healthcare regulatory agencies is crucial. We are working with a consultancy to develop a regulatory plan as a class II medical device and will be working to obtain necessary certifications and approvals to ensure R-REA widespread use.

  • Patients and Caregivers: Feedback from end-users is invaluable. We'll conduct workshops and feedback sessions to understand the patient experience and improve our solution accordingly.

3. Accessing Necessary Tools:

  • Infrastructure: We'll leverage cloud-based solutions for data storage, processing, and AI model training, ensuring scalability and robust performance.

  • Partnerships: We aim to collaborate with tech providers and universities for accessing state-of-the-art hardware and software tools, ensuring the best performance of R-REA.

4. Financial and Funding Strategy:

  • NSF SBIR Phase I & II: We have secured Phase I and plan to apply for Phase II in March, which would provide additional funds and validation.

  • NIH D2PII and Later Phases: Our application for NIH D2PII is scheduled for April. Further applications for Phase III and Phase IV are in the pipeline.

  • Investment Rounds: We are targeting a seed round of $1-1.5M, followed by a Series A round of an estimated $5-10M. Once we have established market traction, we project a Series B round of $20-30M.

  • Revenue Generation: Post-Series A, we anticipate generating revenue from pilots and our first set of customers, ensuring a revenue stream as we scale.

  • Break-even Point: With the anticipated funding and revenue streams, we aim to reach financial viability and hit our break-even point shortly before or during our Series B phase.

5. Implementation and Deployment:

  • Pilot Phase: R-REA will initially be deployed in select healthcare institutions. This will allow us to gather real-world data, refine our system, and validate its clinical efficacy.

  • Scale-Up: Post the pilot phase, we'll expand to more institutions, leveraging our partnerships and the positive results from our initial implementations.

  • Training Workshops: It's crucial that healthcare professionals know how to use R-REA effectively. Our Support and Feedback Team will conduct training workshops to ensure smooth integration into existing medical practices.

6. Continuous Improvement:

  • Feedback Loop: Our operational model includes a continuous feedback loop. As R-REA gets implemented in more locations, we'll gather feedback and use it to refine and enhance our system.

  • R&D Investment: A portion of our budget is allocated to research and development, ensuring that R-REA  remains at the forefront of cardiac care technology.

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

In the long term, a balanced mix of these revenue streams, combined with rigorous financial planning and operational efficiency, will ensure Apricity's financial sustainability. Our goal is to not only cover expected expenses but to generate surplus funds which can be reinvested into research, development, and expanding our positive impact. We expect to achieve that through: 

1. Product Sales and Licensing:

  • R-REA Software Licensing: We will offer tiered software licensing models based on the size and needs of healthcare institutions. This could range from single-clinic licenses to enterprise-wide licenses for larger hospital networks.
  • Lease Based Model: Institutions can subscribe to our product on a monthly or yearly basis, ensuring continuous updates, support, and access to newer versions.

2. Service Contracts:

  • Government Service Contracts: By showcasing the efficiency and effectiveness of R-REA , we aim to secure service contracts with government health departments and military branches, becoming an integral part of public healthcare systems.
  • Maintenance and Support Contracts: Post-implementation, healthcare institutions can opt for maintenance and support contracts, ensuring smooth operation and immediate technical assistance.

3. Grants and Donations:

  • While our primary focus will shift towards a revenue-driven model, in the initial stages, we'll actively pursue grants, such as the NSF SBIR and NIH D2PII, to support R&D and pilot implementations.

4. Partnerships and Collaborations:

  • Tech Partnerships: Collaborating with tech giants or health tech companies can open avenues for bundled offerings where R-REA can be a part of a larger suite of products, ensuring wider reach and adoption.
  • Pharmaceutical Collaborations: R-REA's data can be invaluable for pharmaceutical companies in drug research for cardiac ailments. Collaborative ventures can be explored where anonymized data insights can be shared, generating revenue.

5. Investment Strategy:

  • Seed and Series Investment Rounds: To fuel our growth and development, we've charted out a robust investment strategy starting with a seed round of $1-1.5M, followed by Series A and B rounds. These funds will cater to R&D, scaling, and market expansion.

6. Revenue from Training and Workshops:

  • We will conduct training workshops for healthcare professionals on using R-REA . These workshops, while crucial for the effective use of our solution, will also serve as an additional revenue stream.

7. Expansion to Related Medical Areas:

  • Over time, the technology powering R-REA can be adapted to address other medical imaging needs beyond cardiology, opening additional revenue streams. This will specifically start with other diagnostic ultrasound procedures, and has the potential to expand beyond even that. 

8. Data Monetization (Ethically and with Privacy Considerations):

  • Anonymized, aggregated data can be valuable for research institutions, pharmaceuticals, and academia. With strict adherence to privacy regulations, data can be monetized without compromising patient confidentiality.

What are your current operating costs, and what are your projected operating costs for the next year? Please include human capital estimates.

Our current operating costs are $11,000/month with a lean team, one prototype, and working out of basements and living rooms. Our objective is to demonstrate MVP feasibility while we are lean, and grow when we are ready to expand. 

Over the next year, we plan to scale after demonstrating proof of concept feasibility. Our projected operating costs for 2024 are: 

2024: Initial concept development, prototype design, early feasibility testingCostRevenueR&D Personnel$288,000.00R&D Materials, Supplies, Equipment$172,500.00Product Management and Feedback$80,000.00Regulatory, Engineering, and Clinical Consultation$225,000.00IP, Legal, Misc., & Overhead$188,475.00NSF/NIH SBIR Grant$750,000.00TOTALTOTAL$953,975.00$750,000.00-$203,975.00

Applicants can request and receive funding at a minimum of 50k and maximum of $100k. How much funding are you seeking to continue your work in 2024, and how did you select this number? What would you use this funding for? Funding is limited; please consider carefully the right amount to request.

Amount Requested: $100,000

Reasoning Behind Amount: Our financial projections for 2024 indicate a shortfall of approximately $203,975, even after accounting for the anticipated NSF/NIH SBIR Grant. While the NSF SBIR Phase II grant generously funds our Research and Development endeavors to refine our AI solution, it imposes specific restrictions. Notably, it does not allow for expenses associated with crucial operations such as collaborating with hospital partners to amass feedback and conduct clinical tests. Moreover, it does not cover our engagements with legal teams, which are essential to safeguard our intellectual property and to ensure we navigate the intricate legal and ethical landscape of AI technology. The requested amount of $100,000 will bridge these specific gaps, ensuring that R-REA not only advances technologically but also integrates seamlessly with medical stakeholders and remains legally protected.

Allocation of Funds:

  1. Clinical Collaboration and Feedback Integration: $40,000

    • Engaging with hospital partners for feedback collection.
    • Conducting on-ground workshops and training sessions to familiarize hospital staff with R-REA.
    • Facilitating focus group sessions with cardiologists and clinicians to identify potential refinements.
  2. Clinical Testing and Validation: $25,000

    • Conducting pilot tests to validate the AI model's accuracy in real-world hospital environments.
    • Acquiring necessary equipment or software for clinical testing.
    • Funding travel or logistics for on-site testing in partner hospitals.
  3. Intellectual Property (IP) Protection: $15,000

    • Patent filing and related fees.
    • Consultation with IP experts to identify potential avenues for protection.
  4. Legal, Ethical, and Regulatory Consultation: $15,000

    • Legal consultations to ensure adherence to AI and medical device regulations.
    • Engagement with ethics experts to identify potential pitfalls and best practices.
    • Review of R-REA's usage data to ensure patient privacy and data security.
  5. Miscellaneous & Contingency: $5,000

    • Covering unexpected expenses that might arise during the project's implementation.
    • Ensuring there's a buffer for any unforeseen challenges.

The Cure Residency will provide winners with seed funding, mentorship, lab space, mentorship, educational programming, and networking opportunities. How do you imagine this opportunity will help support your work? Which aspects of the Cure Residency would you be most excited about?

The Cure Residency represents a transformative opportunity for our team and the R-REA project. At this juncture, as we navigate the intricate phases of concept development, prototyping, and feasibility testing, the comprehensive support offered by The Cure Residency can accelerate our path to impact.

  1. Seed Funding: The financial backing will bridge our current funding gaps, allowing us to prioritize essential aspects like clinical validation, feedback integration, and IP protection without budgetary constraints.

  2. Mentorship: Access to experienced mentors will offer invaluable guidance. Their insights, accumulated from years of industry experience, can help us refine our strategies, avoid common pitfalls, and streamline our efforts. Specifically, we're keen to learn from those who have successfully scaled AI healthcare solutions in complex regulatory environments.

  3. Lab Space: A dedicated space for R&D would greatly enhance our productivity. Being surrounded by a conducive environment will allow for more hands-on experimentation, fostering rapid iteration and innovation.

  4. Educational Programming: This aspect promises to deepen our knowledge in areas we may be less familiar with. Through structured educational modules, we can sharpen our skills, from the technical intricacies of AI modeling to the nuances of healthcare compliance.

  5. Networking Opportunities: Connecting with a network of innovators, industry experts, and potential collaborators will be invaluable. These relationships can lead to partnerships, inform our product development, and even open doors to potential pilot programs with healthcare institutions.

Most Exciting Aspects: While every component of The Cure Residency is exciting, the two aspects we're particularly enthused about are:

  • Mentorship: Tapping into the reservoir of experience and wisdom from seasoned professionals can significantly accelerate our learning curve and decision-making processes. We current do not have any AI or technical experts on our advisory board, which highlights a significant gap. Their firsthand experiences can guide our navigation through challenges that are inherent in healthcare innovation.

  • Networking Opportunities: Building strong, symbiotic relationships within the healthcare and tech communities is paramount. Meeting individuals and organizations with aligned goals can pave the way for collaborative efforts, further propelling Apricity's mission.

Solution Team

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