Wicab, Inc.

Wicab, Inc., located in Middleton, WI, is a privately held medical device company dedicated to providing innovative devices for individuals based on sensory substitution technology originally developed by Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Google provided funding for the BrainPort Vision Aid FDA clinical trials and the U.S. Army also provided significant funding to further test and develop BrainPort Vision Pro technology.

Currently, the BrainPort Vision Pro is commercially available in the USA, European Union (CE mark), Chile, Peru, and Hong Kong. 

The BrainPort Balance Plus device is available for training and sale across Canada through our authorized distributor Lifemark, in the province of Quebec through Neurotherapy Montreal and is licensed by Health Canada.

Wicab, Inc. is a ISO 13485-2016 certified medical device company.

Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita
Company History

Wicab, Inc. was founded in 1998 by the late

Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita (1934-2006), a medical doctor and pioneer in the fields of sensory substitution, rehab medicine, and neuroplasticity.


The BrainPort technology is based on Dr. Bach-y-Rita’s research, originating in the 1960’s. This research included successfully transmitting visual information from a camera to blind individuals via vibrating plates against their backs, leading him to famously note, "you don’t ‘see’ with your eyes, you ‘see’ with your brain”.


Dr. Bach-y-Rita began this work while at Smith-Kettlewell Institute of Visual Sciences in San Francisco. He returned to this subject in the 1990's as a Professor of Rehab Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This is where he began to identify the tongue as an ideal interface to the brain and advances in miniaturization of camera and computer technology allowed development of wearable devices. His work is regarded as the first experimental evidence for brain plasticity and the feasibility of sensory substitution (Guardian Science Weekly 20/04/2009). Dr. Bach-y-Rita named the company Wicab Inc. after his wife’s maiden name.


Learn more about Dr. Bach-y-Rita and his work through this excerpt from Dr. Norman Doidge's book, "The Brain That Changes Itself".

The BrainPort Team

William A. Conn, Jr., Acting CEO

Bill joined Wicab in 2015 as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, bringing over 35 years of experience in the medical device marketplace. Bill previously served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for the MRI division of Esaote North America. Before Esaote, he spent 10 years at GE Healthcare in high level marketing, sales, and management positions in the diagnostic imaging division. Prior to GE, Bill was the Marketing Manager for the MRI division of Lunar Corporation where he was responsible for a successful launch of an Italian made in-office MRI system into the orthopedic office market. Previously he held positions of increasing responsibility at Philips Healthcare, Instrumentarium Imaging, and Picker International, where he began his career. Bill received his degree in Architectural Design from Kent State University.

Lara M Swiersz, CPA – Controller

Lara joined Wicab, Inc. in December 2015 as Controller with over 10 years of accounting experience in various settings. She is responsible for all business-related functions, including: financial reporting, general ledger, purchasing, billing, human resources, and cash management. She is also responsible for maintaining the Company’s documentation on GAAP-acceptable policies and procedures, as well as working with independent auditors to complete required company reviews/audits. Prior to joining Wicab, Lara was Accounting Manager for Horizon Management Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Western Illinois University and a Master’s degree in Accounting from Keller Graduate School of Management.

Patricia Grant Ph.D., Director of Clinical Research

Tricia joined Wicab, Inc. as Director of Clinical Research in February 2014. She previously served as Co-Investigator for Wicab’s FDA clinical trial and currently serves as the Principal Investigator of a clinical trial, funded by the US Department of Defense, investigating the safety and efficacy of the BrainPort for people who have been blinded by traumatic injury. Her future research goals include demonstrating the value of the BrainPort in the workplace, in addition to teaching spatial concepts to children. Prior to joining Wicab, Tricia was the Director of Research at the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired and a Research Specialist in the Low Vision Research and the Applied Physics laboratories in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to her work at Wicab, Tricia has contributed to research in the areas of methods for assessing loss of vision due to retinal disease, treatments to optimize remaining vision, the psychological effects of vision loss, and the measurement of retinal image quality and ocular aberration. She earned a BA in Psychology, an MS in Public Health Sciences, and PhD from the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a concentration in behavioral science and eye health promotion.

Daihui Wang, Director of Operations - China

“Fred” is a Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor and he has worked with people with physical disabilities, mental health and development issues since 2008. He is focused on the improvement of independent living through the development and use of cutting-edge rehabilitation technology. Fred has personally trained more than 50 blind individuals on the use of the BrainPort system and supervised the training of over 100 individuals in total. Among other many other responsibilities, he is leading Wicab’s efforts to establish BrainPort Vision Pro training centers in China. Fred is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Psychology.

Sona Walter, European Sales Coordinator

Sona joined Wicab, Inc. in 2004 and is responsible for establishing, managing, and developing distribution channels in Europe and Russia, including presenting the technology at numerous international congresses and exhibitions. She also managed clinical trials and customer relations within the European Union, as well as developing collaborative ties with numerous European opinion leaders. Sona holds a Master’s degree in modern European languages and has been trained in intercultural communication and marketing.

Meesa Royster, Certified Training Specialist

Meesa joined Wicab, Inc. in 2015 and is also Assistant Director of the Low Vision Research Laboratory at The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. She has been a Certified BrainPort Trainer for six years and is currently working on a clinical trial funded by the Department of Defense to investigate the safety and efficacy of the BrainPort for people who have been blinded by traumatic injury. Meesa’s profound interest in vision care drives her to work towards integrating technology into the vision rehabilitation process. She has had the opportunity to work alongside the best Low Vision Optometrists and Rehabilitation Scientists in her field and is also working on areas of research which focus on optimizing remaining vision for patients with central vision loss. Meesa is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry.

Board of Directors

Richard J. Glaisner, Partner at Fiduciary Real Estate Development

Formerly, Mr. Glaisner was Senior Vice President and Business Development Officer for Wells Fargo Private Client Services; Senior Regional Manager for Wells Fargo Private Client Services; Senior Managing Director; the Ziegler Companies; CEO and Chairman of PMC; the Founder, President and CEO of GS2 Securities and prior to that time held several positions of senior management responsibilities at Kidder, Peabody, Kemper Securities and Blunt, Ellis and Loewi involved in the management and sales of institutional equity products. Mr. Glaisner is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Jon D. Hammes, Managing Partner of Hammes Company

Jon D. Hammes specializes in the development of healthcare facilities, sports facilities and commercial real estate. Prior to forming Hammes Company, Mr. Hammes was a Midwest Regional Partner for Trammell Crow Company, and was a member of its Management Board. Mr. Hammes currently sits on the Boards of Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, WPRI, University of Wisconsin Foundation, University of Wisconsin School of Business, and Greater Milwaukee Committee. Mr. Hammes received his Master of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Julian MacQueen, Founder/CEO of Innisfree Hotels

Innisfree Hotels is a hotel development and management company based in Pensacola Florida. Innisfree Hotels was formed in 1985 and has grown from a single-property operation to one of the largest hotel management companies in the Southern U.S, with more than 2,500 rooms owned and managed and approximately 2,000 employees. Mr. MacQueen is current board positions including Beach Community Bank, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, Gulf Power an investor owned utility serving 400,000 customers in Northwest Florida, Independence for the Blind of Northwest Florida, focused on training clients who have developed blindness later in life, Sacred Heart Hospital Advisory Board a 5,000 bed not for profit hospital and Chairman of the Escambia Destination Marketing Organization representing 90% of all hotel owners in the county. Mr. MacQueen is a graduate of the University of South Alabama.

Yuquan Wang, Founding Partner of Haiyin Capital

Mr. Wang founded, and was President of Frost and Sullivan China, a research and consulting firm focused on helping clients achieve transformational growth. In 1995 he founded Beijing Consultech Pharma., a pharmaceutical consulting and marketing firm which was acquired by Omnicom Group. Mr. Wang is on the board of Cerevast Therapeutics, a company developing a revolutionary treatment for acute ischemic stroke. Mr. Wang’s long and varied experience in the telecom industry has helped him facilitate interaction and cooperation between global carriers and major Chinese telecom carriers. He is a frequent lecturer on technology market trends and marketing in the telecom/internet marketplace. Mr. Wang graduated from Beijing Normal University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Hao Chi, Founder and President of Beijing Bridge Investment Co. Ltd.

Beijing Bridge Investment Co. Ltd. is a firm that invested in and ran Chinese companies specializing in machinery production, textile manufacturing, chemical production, environmental-friendly home furnishing materials, and industrial real estate. He also joint-ventured with manufacturing companies in the Netherlands, UK, and Ireland, serving as a VP in these companies. Mr. Chi is currently the Vice Chairman of the Engineering Institute in the China Mechanical Engineering Academy, the most prestigious organization in the Chinese engineering industry. Mr. Chi brings over 30 years’ experience in international trading (import/export).


Wicab, Inc. is developing pioneering technology and devices to help people with disabilities and health problems live a better life. We attract the best people and create a vital and progressive environment in which they work.

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