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SBIR Phase I: Measuring and Mapping Pain Intensity onto a 3D Image of the Human Body



202 Morningside Dr SE
Albuquerque, NM, 87108-2633

Award Year: 2021


HUBZone Owned: No

Woman Owned: No

Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No

Congressional District: 1

Tagged as:


Phase I

Seal of the Agency: NSF

Awarding Agency


Total Award Amount: $256,000

Contract Number: 2036496

Agency Tracking Number: 2036496

Solicitation Topic Code: DH

Solicitation Number: N/A


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will significantly improve the way clinicians and researchers measure, study and treat pain. Chronic pain affects 20% of U.S. adults and costs $600 billion annually. Opioids are often the first treatment option offered to patients with chronic pain. Currently pain is assessed using simplistic, subjective and generalized visual/verbal scales (1-10) with little ability to localize the origin. It is essential for clinicians and medical researchers to have calibrated and accurate measures of pain to assist patients in determining the underlying disease and directing patients to the most effective therapies. This project will develop a new biomedical tool to quantify pain data for multimodal treatment plans to potentially minimize opioid use. This tool will improve quality of life for people suffering from chronic pain and help those on opioids find better therapies. Furthermore, it will help clinicians with varied levels of training and experience achieve the highest level of exam skill. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will digitize a physical exam by capturing palpation location and pressure and patient pain expression via multiple biosensors to create a personalized “contour” map of pain intensity onto a 3D image of the human body. This comprehensive and calibrated data set can then be used to assist clinicians in developing a more accurate differential diagnosis for the underlying pain condition. This project will advance the hardware and software components for future integration with augmented reality and artificial intelligence modules. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Award Schedule

  1. 2020
    Solicitation Year

  2. 2021
    Award Year

  3. March 1, 2021
    Award Start Date

  4. February 28, 2022
    Award End Date

Principal Investigator

Phone: N/A

Business Contact

Name: Andru Zeller
Phone: (505) 266-0888

Research Institution

Name: N/A