DBJ: Local startup led by Wright State faculty member receives $150K to develop new medical device


Wright State professor Caroline Cao is an expert in the design and evaluation of enabling technology, such as haptics, navigational aids, and surgical simulation, for minimally invasive surgery.

Caroline Cao is a professor of biomedical, industrial and human factors engineering at Wright State University. Now, she’s furthering her path down the local startup scene, after receiving funding to support her prototype development.

Her company, Endo Guidance Technologies LLC, was awarded $150,000 for the development and commercialization of a radiation-free alternative to X-ray imaging during endovascular surgery. This support was possible by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, which approved $2.5 million in funding statewide to further develop testing, prototyping and technology.

Cao’s research is focused on developing technology that will better enable performance in minimally invasive surgeries. Tools used in procedures such as microscopic surgeries, colonoscopies, endovascular surgeries and more are often limitedly tracked, providing an element of risk in a surgery. That’s where Endo Guidance Technologies’ products come in — to support surgeons and their procedures safely, which will then lead to better patient outcomes.

“There’s a big need for this technology,” she said. “That’s why I decided to launch this project and I’m trying to push it commercially.”

This newly obtained funding will help fill the gaps between Cao’s research and technology development, bringing the startup one step closer to commercialization. Plus, the local startup scene’s supportive atmosphere is a key reason she decided to relocate from Boston and grow her business in Dayton.

“Especially with The Entrepreneurs Center, I’ve been connected to the community and realized how vibrant it is,” she said. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Moving forward, Cao aims to continue fundraising efforts for her technology. She also hopes to meet with investors and larger medical device companies to form a partnership, with goals to add this technology into their product lines.

Not only is Cao a professor and founder of a startup, she was also elected Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and secretary-treasurer elect of its executive council in October. The society is the world’s largest scientific association for human factors and ergonomics professionals, comprised of more than 4,500 members internationally.

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