Photo captions: Rives Bird, CEO of Iowa Adaptive Technologies (top), and the prototype for the noddle device

Iowa Adaptive Technologies Inc. (IAT), a University of Iowa startup that is developing devices and solutions to help critically ill and disabled patients take a more active role in communicating and participating in their own care, has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with the UI Research Foundation (UIRF).

David Conrad, UI assistant vice president for economic development, said he applauds IAT’s success and is pleased that the university has been able to support its progress toward the marketplace.

“We are creating a new culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the university to spur economic growth by strengthening the knowledge economy in Iowa,” Conrad said. “IAT is a perfect example of the type of innovative company that can start and grow here.”

Conrad said the exclusive license provides the company the sole ability to bring the technology to market during the life of the patents, an exclusivity that helps attract additional investment. The UIRF executed 32 options and licenses in FY2014, a 10 percent increase over the previous year.

“The licensing agreement, coupled with IAT’s securing $250,000 in non-dilutive funding (funding that does not require the sale of shares) this past year, puts IAT in a strong position to attract additional investments that will enable us to bring our cutting-edge communication tools to market,” said IAT CEO Rives Bird.

Most recently, that funding included $50,000 in second-round commercialization GAP funding through the UI Office of Research and Economic Development and $100,000 from the state of Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) demonstration fund.  And although the company is just over a year old, it has already developed a working prototype and done pre-clinical testing at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The prototype for the IAT noddleTM allows patients who are unable to speak and are physically impaired access to nurse call systems, environmental controls, and communication apps on iPads and speech-generating devices. 

“We’ve made great strides in a very short period of time,” Bird said. “We’ve brought on a professional board of directors and have secured necessary resources including a $200,000 line of credit to move forward quickly. Our next steps include both a rigorous clinical trial with at least 10 prestigious medical centers in the United States to demonstrate just how effective this system is and hiring for several key positions in preparation for market launch.”

IAT’s board of directors include Richard Hurtig, serving as chief science officer and president; Susan Wood, CEO of VIDA Diagnostics; Bart Floyd, eastern Iowa president of Great Western Bank; Aaron Warner, chief information officer at Integrated DNA Technologies; and Greg Williams, a patent attorney at Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC and member of the board of the UI Small Business Development Center.

The UI Research Foundation is part of the University of Iowa Office of Research and Economic Development, which supports and advances research, scholarship, and creative activity on the campus. Through a broad variety of activities and services, it seeks to play an important role in the underpinning of these creative activities in the public and private sectors of Iowa and beyond.


Rives Bird, Iowa Adaptive Technologies, 319-214-3023

David Conrad, Office of Research and Economic Development, 319-335-4142

Stephen Pradarelli, Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development, 319-384-1282 (office); 319-621-5263 (cell)