Can Video Chat Lower Alzheimer’s Risk? NIH Awards Startup Prestigious Grant

Philadelphia, PA, June 15, 2018 –, the web-based video chat platform known for its ease of use, was awarded a highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The grant will provide the resources to determine how the platform can be used to enhance social connections and engagement among older adults. Social isolation is common in older adults and has profound effects on health outcomes, including early mortality and possibly the onset of dementia. The grant aims to address this issue by developing novel ways to connect older adults.

Together with researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the team will pilot the platform with adults over 70 years old, including adults who show early signs of cognitive impairment. By understanding the unique design needs of those most at risk for social isolation, will adapt its video technology to provide an accessible and fun way to connect. Users of are grouped based on interests, which lowers the bar for a conversation with others one might not know.

The Illinois team, including Dr. Wendy Rogers and Dr. Raksha Mudar, are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with on this effort. At the College of Applied Health Science, Dr. Rogers serves as Director of the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory and Raksha Mudar is Director of the Aging and Neurocognition Laboratory.

“This grant dovetails perfectly with our mission to help communities connect more meaningfully through technology,” says CEO Dillon Myers, “we’re grateful for both the support of the NIH and our partnership with the University of Illinois to help move this important research forward.”


About (formerly Potluck) is a web-based video chat platform based in Philadelphia. The platform, designed by a cross-generational team, makes it as easy as possible for anyone to join and participate in video-based meetings and events. No downloads, and no more logins. Just a single click from a computer/tablet/smartphone, and you’re in!

About our University of Illinois Research Partners

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a new initiative focused on Collaborations in Aging, Health, Research, and Technology (CHART), led by Dr. Wendy Rogers.  The vision for this effort is to Harness Technology to Support Successful Aging.  CHART is housed within the College of Applied Health Sciences, which has a mission to advance research, instruction, and public engagement that promotes the development of healthy, livable communities, facilitates optimal living with disability and promotes health and wellness across the lifespan.


This project is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43AG059450. The content is solely the responsibility of and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.