2019 Annual Conference main web header


A Rehabilitation Technology Innovation Competition

Developed by the ACRM Technology Networking Group

This year’s competition will be held at the Hilton Chicago during the ACRM 2019 Annual Conference in Chicago — the largest interdisciplinary rehabilitation research conference in the world.

ACRM is where cutting-edge research and technology meet clinical practice to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. The conference is attended by thousands of researchers and clinicians who value cutting-edge research and technology.

ACRM LaunchPad : a Rehabilitation Technology Innovation Competition

Congratulations to 2019 LaunchPad winners

LaunchPad 2019 Winner

The ACRM Technology Networking Group hosted another exciting LaunchPad competition at the ACRM 2019 Annual Conference in Chicago highlighting innovative rehabilitation technology introduced by six contestants. A distinguished panel of judges including David Putrino, PhD, PT; John Butzer, MD; Mike Jones, PhD; Megan Mitchell, PhD and Doug Johnson evaluated and provided valuable industry feedback on the rehabilitation products and services introduced. Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners:


  • Best Overall: EYEnexo: Bringing Eye Specialists to the Bedside Through Telemedicine
  • Most Innovative: Soft Ankle Foot Orthosis Powered by Artificial Muscle; DE-AFO
  • Most Impactful: Fusion Brain Assessment

2019 Distinguished Judges

David Putrino imageDavid Putrino, PhD, PT
Director of Rehabilitation Innovation and Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai



John ButzerJohn Butzer, MD
Director of the Center for Research and Innovation
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital



Michael Jones, PhD, FACRMMike Jones, PhD 
Vice President of Clinical Research and Assistive Technology
Shepherd Center



Megan MitchellMegan Mitchell, PhD
Human Factors Researcher



Doug Johnson imageDoug Johnson
Chief Technology Officer
Lite Run, Inc. (“Best Overall” Winner at LaunchPad 2018)



Tracey WallaceMODERATOR: Tracey Wallace, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist/Clinical Research Scientist
Shepherd Center




The ACRM Technology Networking Group is pleased to announce LaunchPad — an exciting opportunity to pitch your company or idea to a panel of rehab industry experts and an audience of clinicians, researchers, engineers, and decision-makers to receive market feedback and win prizes.

LaunchPad is an annual competition created to highlight innovative rehabilitation technologies developed by non-profit research and engineering labs and startup companies. The competition is held at ACRM’s annual conference each fall.


STAGE 1 – Spring

LaunchPad is a 6-month, 2-stage competition, beginning with the submission of applications in the spring by competitors. Applications should describe:

  • their innovative rehabilitation technology
  • the target user
  • the problem addressed
  • evidence of efficacy and other user feedback
  • evidence of adoption, if any

These applications will be reviewed by the LaunchPad Task Force of ACRM’s Technology Networking Group and five finalists will be chosen.


STAGE 2 – Fall

Finalists will present their technologies before a panel of interdisciplinary judges, including healthcare administrators, rehabilitation technology researchers and engineers, rehabilitation clinicians, medical doctors, and technology entrepreneurs to win prizes and gain valuable feedback from rehab professionals at the ACRM 2020 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, 19-24 OCT 2020.

“LaunchPad offers a unique opportunity for startups and R&D labs to receive feedback on their rehabilitation technology solutions directly from experts with deep knowledge of health technology R&D, rehabilitation services and technology acquisition” —Tracey Wallace, CCC-SLP, Chair of the LaunchPad Task Force


ACRM LaunchPad: A Rehabilitation Technology Innovation Competition


  • Early-stage health technology companies
    • (Limited to companies that have less than $500k in funding and have been in business less than 4 years, or if in business longer than 4 years, have less than $200k in revenue
  • Rehabilitation research labs/ researchers working on technology-based solutions



First place: “Best Overall”

  • The recipient will receive an 8 x 10 inline exhibit booth space at the ACRM 2020 Annual Conference EXPO in Atlanta, including 2 exhibitor registrations to attend Core Conference programming ($2,499 value)
  • The recipient will be interviewed by Dr. Ford Vox, Digital Media Editor, for an upcoming episode of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation podcast, RehabCast.

Secondary awards: “Most Innovative” and “Most Impactful”

*All three winners will be featured in a shared inline booth space (8’ x 10’) at the ACRM 2019 Annual Conference EXPO in Chicago.


The conference is attended by thousands of researchers, physicians and clinicians, engineers, and business and community leaders who value cutting-edge rehabilitation research and technology. Last year, 81% of all attendees identified themselves as purchasing decision-makers & influencers for their departments!


Doug Johnson imageDoug Johnson, CEO and lead engineer for Lite Run, reported several benefits to his company from the competition: “Many members from the audience approached me after the competition and at our booth and poster with a lot of interest.  It was outstanding how many of the audience were seriously interested in new technology.  A number requested an evaluation of our technology and several of the judges would like to collaborate with us. The booth was a great help! I connected with many from the LaunchPad competition. Overall LaunchPad and the ACRM conference were super beneficial to our starting up!”

“ACRM is excited to host LaunchPad”, said Jon Lindberg, CEO of ACRM. “And we very much appreciate the hard work by the LaunchPad Task Force, judges, ACRM staff, and most especially the contestants.”

“This event is gratifying on so many levels”, added Jenny Richard, COO of ACRM. “Technology is moving so fast, that it’s ever more critical to find ways to highlight emerging rehabilitation technology solutions.”

2018 LaunchPad

Check out Last Year’s LaunchPad >>>

ACRM LaunchPad 2018
Photos from the 2018 LaunchPad in Dallas.

Questions or referrals?

Email Tracey Wallace or Submit them via the form below. 


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Note: Presenters, sessions, and room assignments are subject to change. Please check the Online Program for the latest.


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