UC Santa Cruz innovators among Santa Cruz Works 2022 Titans of Tech

Two outstanding UC Santa Cruz affiliates, Aviv Elor and Nada Miljkovic, were selected as finalists in the competition. the sixth annual Santa Cruz Works Titans of Tech, an event that recognizes industry professionals who have made significant contributions to the growth of the local technology and business community. The 2022 titans of tech will be honored during tomorrow’s awards ceremony at the Santa Cruz Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Elor, who earned a BS in robotics engineering and a Ph.D. degree in Computational Media from UC Santa Cruz, is one of the three co-founders of Immergo Labs, the world’s first virtual and interactive physical therapy telehealth platform. Immergo uses artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to incorporate telehealth capabilities and increase the accessibility, experience and accuracy of remote physical therapy care. With just a VR headset, the platform connects patients and therapists in the same virtual room as if they were interacting live in person, allowing the therapist to track movements and range of motion and provide real-time feedback.

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Based in Santa Cruz, Immergo Labs has secured several industry and academic partnerships and recently acquired a National Science Foundation Phase 1 Small Business Innovation grant to further develop and test their prototype. Immergo’s beta platform will launch next month to users on their waiting list. The team plans to introduce their product to the public by the end of 2023.

Elor’s areas of expertise include human computer interaction, immersive media, wearable robotics, computing, user experience and emerging technologies with a focus on iSTAR, Immersive Systems Towards Assisting Reality, Recovery and Rehabilitation. He is the author of more than 20 publications and has received eight scholarships and awards during his academic career at UC Santa Cruz.

Miljkovic is a UCSC graduate, artist, educator, and entrepreneur. She has taught several undergraduate-level entrepreneurship courses at UCSC’s Crown College for over seven years. She also serves as a program manager for UCSC Center for Innovation and Business Development (CIED), an industrial and academic center that supports teaching, research and the development of inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship.

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In 2020, Miljkovic co-founded GetVirtual, an internship program that connects college students with local businesses to support their transition to online operations, amid the damaging effects of COVID-19 on in-person business operations. The program allows students to gain real-world experience and service-learning credit, while local businesses get the website development and software support they need to offer their services online. In addition to GetVirtual being offered as an in-person course at Crown College called Crown 95: Get virtual business assistanceis now offered fully online through Coursera, extending the community engagement program to students across the UC system.

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Another 2022 Tech Titan, Leila Takayama, taught at UC Santa Cruz as an Associate Professor of Computational Media before returning to industry this year. Takayama specializes in human-computer interaction and human-robot interaction (HRI). She is the Vice President of Design and HRI at Robust.AI, where artificial intelligence, robotics and human-centered design come together to create collaborative mobile robots to increase workforce productivity.

Also recognized as Titans of Tech are: Allison Steitz, Head of Growth and Innovation at Paystand; Bates Marshall, CEO and co-founder of Ambient Photonics, Inc.; Chris Bley, co-founder and director of Monterey Bay DART and founder of AirSpace Integration; Cindi Busenhart, Founder and CEO of MERGE4; Joshua Resnick, CEO/CTO at Parallel Flight Technologies; Stacy Nagel, employee program manager at Google; and Will Wiseman and Alba Forns, co-founders of Climatize.


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