MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Approves $270,000 to Support Artificial Intelligence (AI) Projects

Friday, October 30, 2020

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program welcomes second cohort of early-stage deep tech innovation projects

DETROIT, Oct. 30, 2020 — The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing recently awarded a combined $270,000 in funding to three transformative innovation research projects led by researchers from Wayne State University.

These projects aim to tackle deep tech opportunities in high impact sectors, such as AI/Machine Learning, Augmented Reality (AR), and intelligent automation.

“Deep tech is tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges, with many such technologies from the Michigan research institutions having a potential to make tremendous impact on the economic development. We are thrilled to support the second cohort of research teams in the advanced computing technologies,” said Edward Kim, program director of MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing.

Researchers presented their proposals to an oversight committee composed of experienced technologists, entrepreneurs, industry partners and venture capitalists with a track record of commercializing and investing in frontier technologies. In addition to funding, the researchers will receive valuable mentorship support from the committee members as their projects progress toward commercialization.
The three projects funded by the hub focus on transformational innovations that have the potential to bring disruptive solutions to the market in their respective fields. Funded projects include:

  • Dr. Jeremy Rickli (Wayne State University) is commercializing an automation intelligence and digital twin technology that delivers an integration of prescriptive analytics capability and Augmented Reality (AR) to optimize robotic and automated system operations.
  • Dr. Ming Dong’s (Wayne State University) DeepWave, which is an AI acoustic analysis technology that can deliver sound element separation and audio enhancement in real time.
  • Dr. Arash Javanbakht (Wayne State University) is developing a telehealth exposure therapy platform using AR to provide the clinicians remote treatment capability.

“We are committed to fostering talent and technology commercialization within our state at the research level by creating collaboration opportunities that ultimately strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem and put Michigan at the forefront of the innovative technologies market,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). “While these research projects are still in their early stages, they show great promise. The funds and mentorship they receive from the MTRAC program are an important step to take these projects from concept to commercialization.”

The MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Technologies is run by the WSU Technology Commercialization Office. The hub is part of a network of statewide innovation hubs that includes the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences at the University of Michigan, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University, the MTRAC Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Technological University and the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation at the University of Michigan. Each hub is strategically located at a university with significant strengths in the sector, further increasing the quality and quantity of resources available.

The MTRAC program itself is supported by funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund and administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner institutions. Since inception through September, MTRAC programs have received 658 proposals, funded 306 projects, developed 52 startup companies, licensed 34 technologies to industry partners and secured more than $209 million in follow-on funding.

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more information on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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