Challenge of the week: take an engineer’s sketch that was drafted in a university laboratory and bring the concept to reality as a product for sale to an end consumer. What approach do you take? What team do you build? What resources do you look for?
As there is no one correct answer, allow us to share with you the story of how we began our journey with the MTip crutch tip.
The MTip crutch tip started as a simple thought about kinetic shapes and the forces that they can produce. Ismet Handzic, one of the inventors of the MTip crutch tip, nurtured this thought into what became his doctoral thesis. The MTip, formally known as the kinetic crutch tip, was a project that was surrounded by a perfect combination of science, consumer need, and research capacity. Ismet had been studying kinetic shapes for some time, and with the Dr. Kyle Reed’s lab (another inventor, and home page at www. http://reedlab.eng.usf.edu) on campus at USF, the two were brought together to develop a bold new use for kinetic shapes. The Reed Lab is focused on gait analysis and other mobility and rehabilitation problems.
You can learn more about the inventors’ story and some of the initial reactions from our first customers by clicking here and exploring.
THE RESEARCH SUCCESS
The MTip journey is an epic story of a university technology that progressed from ideation to the marketplace, which is a story that deserves more praise than it often gets, as there are many technologies out there that may make it through a student’s dissertation that look very commercially viable, but sadly fail to see the light of day. A great technology without the right partners and customers never goes very far. That is why we need you, our customers to partner with us to change the mobility technology market and aid us in evolving the current market offerings for the betterment of all crutch users!
We at Moterum have always had customers first and foremost in our minds through each iteration of the MTip design, as we are personally driven to improve your day-to-day life through your experience with our product. What ended up with is truly remarkable and uniquely designed crutch tip that has been proven to make walking on crutches up to 30% more efficient and have better traction, grip, and stability.
THE GROWING TEAM
The kinetic shape technology was realized to have big potential to make a difference in crutch users’ lives and we began interacting with the University of South Florida and the inventors. With the aid of the inventors, Moterum was able to secure a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, and the technology was perfected over and over again…from Version 1 to Version 9, all the while working towards a product that could be actually utilized by a customer. The Inventors and Moterum also went through a valuable program run by the NSF called the ICORP Program. Through this program we spoke to and interacted with all types of crutch users, as well as physicians and rehabilitation specialists. We learned more about the needs of crutch users and how a crutch tip could address those needs. Using the personal stories and data from this study, we identified a path forward. New team members were brought into the Moterum family to prepare for product launch and to guide the manufacturing and production designs. At this point in time, a manufacturer was found, initial inventory was purchased, a website was built, and then the product was launched for sale! We won’t lie and say that countless lessons weren’t learned along the way, as well as the normal highs and lows you would expect out of an entrepreneurial journey.
There is no single correct way to bring a product to market to avoid the road blocks waiting along the way, but with the efforts of a great team, you sure can make great progress! Don't’ hesitate to contact us with questions or comments, or new ideas or designs. We are always excited to begin another journey to help people Go Farther and to reduce mobility challenges. See next month’s Newsletter for an introduction to our first product targeted to help stroke patients learn how to walk again. Thank you for your support, and keep moving! Please click the links below to follow us on social media, so that you can stay up to date as our story progresses and share in our successes!