After our amazing discovery, the lab exploded into a flurry of electrified activity! We invited my doctor and collaborator on the project, Dr. Mark Pyle, to come and see for himself what we discovered. Within a few days, Dr. Pyle, Paul, Mitch and Yuri and even my son Kris gathered together to show and witness the remarkable discovery. A day I will never, ever forget! It was also a day that started the research on a path I don’t think any of us ever thought we would be taking.
Here’s a video of that day. You will see Paul Bach-y-Rita, Dr. Pyle, Mitch and my son Kris in the background. Yuri is standing with me running the trials. I believe this is the first time we videotaped the amazing differences between my ability to stand with my feet together, eyes closed not using and then using the device. Simply an amazing event!
From this point on there was brainstorming, planning, grants written, and sharing on paper and in person the results I achieved using the TDU. The good news and the astounding data moved throughout scientific circles. But the most important activity was the search for funds for Paul to take the next step of forming his own company to expand his work and begin testing the TDU with other individuals who lost their sense of balance. Paul needed a bigger lab, an office, a place where dedicated time to this remarkable discovery could expand. Paul needed to be his own company. It was here Wicab was born.
Paul Bach-y-Rita named the company Wicab after his wife lovely Esther; it was her maiden name and means “lover of honey”. To me this was the perfect name because it symbolized the sweetness the TDU brought back into my life…
After a lot of work, a lot of presentations, a lot of money showed up. The day came when the door to the new lab and office of Wicab was opened for the first time. Everyone had their place and specific job to do. There were the engineers who tirelessly labored to design the TDU into a portable device – people like Ed Fisher, Mike Rosen, Tim Banks, UW-Madison Bio-Medical Engineering students, a lot of behind the scenes talent!
I continued with my studies at Madison Technical College and was working towards transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to begin studies for a degree in counseling to help others cope with the transition into acquired disability. I also continued the study with the TDU going to the new lab whenever I was asked to assist with a presentation of how the device worked, provide a demonstration of me using it, and for interested visitors and potential funders, to witness its miraculous effects.
Word of the preliminary results we had discovered had traveled like wildfire throughout the scientific community. There were visitors from many parts of the world, and of course, throughout the United States. Then, it was a visit from some interested researchers/potential funders/partners from Israel that, once again, changed everything. Up to now Paul, me, Yuri, and Mitch, had been demonstrating the device while I used it in increasing incremental amounts of time, which showed how the residual would last longer with each increase in the amount of time using the device. While giving our demonstrations to the gentlemen from Israel, one of them asked “what do think would happen if she (meaning me) would stay on the device for, say, 20 minutes?” After discussing what if’s and well, me being the very willing Subject Zero, we agreed to give this a try.
Then I thought to myself, 20 minutes… That’s a long time to stand still – with my eyes closed, could I really do that? I decided I would never know if I didn’t try. So, we set everything up, I took a deep breath, placed the helmet on my head, TDU into my mouth, on my tongue, and began the first ever 20 minute trial using the device. I thought what I already experienced with the device had changed my world, but, what happened next really changed my world and the world of science.