Via 13 WHAM
By: Tanner Jubenville, Thursday, November 7th 2019

13 WHAM Luminate 2019 Lightning Awards coverage

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) – Ten tech startups from around the world are moving on to the next round of a competition to earn their shot at a million dollar prize, and it’s happening in the Rochester area.

The competition, run by the state program Luminate, awarded $100,000 prizes to the businesses Thursday at a ceremony at The Strong National Museum of Play.

Now those companies will work from January to June with local photonics, optics, and imaging companies to help their businesses grow, and earn a chance to win $1 million for their company.

One of those companies is based in Rochester. Simulated Inanimate Models is a company which produces realistic anatomical human models for surgeons to practice on.

COO Dr. Michael Wilson says the company wants to ensure surgeons are properly trained and create more patient safety.

“There’s no better way than creating programs that benefit the lives and safety of patients every single day in the operating room,” said Dr. Wilson.

“We’re developing a computerized guidance system that can guide a surgeon through a complete simulated procedure, and give them instruction and feedback, and allow them to train to competency, before they ever put their hands on a patient.”

Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan with Luminate says the Rochester area is a prime location to host such a competition.

“This is actually one of the largest consolidated areas where you see so many optics and photonics companies,” said Dr. Ramanujan.

“Many businesses become small to medium sized companies, and that’s really good for our local ecosysten,” she said. “There’s no reason why everything has to sit under the umbrella of a large company.”

In June, Luminate will announce the company who will be awarded the $1 million investment.