How would you describe Apollo Dynamics and what it is working on?
Apollo helps people recover from and protect against joint injuries. We are developing a wearable bio-kinetic device paired with a software service to monitor patients after knee replacement surgery.
We’ve partnered with United Ortho to offer high-quality orthopedic braces at a more affordable cost than some vendors. They have a soft knee brace and we’re putting our circuit onto that, then all the information it collects runs through the patient’s smart phone.
We’re outsourcing some app development to work for the Sentry sensor brace system. The plan is to have it worn during therapy and exercise, basically to log information. In addition to range of motion, it will log how many times wearers do a flexion and extension.
Physicians will be able to scan through data as needed. And because they’ll be able to look through the information that comes in from the patients fairly quickly, they will be able to alert them to address any immediate needs.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
I have a background in mechanical engineering, and I’ve had issues with one of my knees for a long time, and I wanted to see what exactly was going on.
I went to a running store, and they had a camera behind me, and I ran on a treadmill. I learned about other companies that had spent all this money and time trying to develop real-world environments in a lab to collect the same kind of information.
My idea was to develop a wearable that would be more cost effective and provide more data and you could use it out on real terrain.
I talked to Dr. Michael Mirro (chief academic and research officer of Parkview Health) about it and he pushed me in the direction of monitoring patients after knee replacements because there’s a good market for that.
What is ahead for Apollo Dynamics?
One of the things we’re looking into doing right now is getting an insurance letter so you can use the same system to help with recovery after different types of surgeries.
Because of the way the device is made, we can scale it to other joints as well, so our next target is hip replacement and other hip injuries and shoulders as well.
A clinical trial is not required for the device, but we are going to have one done to demonstrate its medical benefits and economic value.
We have a provisional patent on file and we’re planning to file both a utility patent and a design patent. We have an interesting road ahead to take with intellectual property.
What are some moments that stand out so far with the development of Apollo Dynamics?
A couple of the milestones we have seen include when we got the sensor circuit back from the manufacturer and when we got our website up.
And as an engineer, getting your own patent was a trophy.
What do you enjoy about your work, in addition to the prospect of helping patients in their recovery?
I think part of what I enjoy about entrepreneurship is being able to network with and meet all different kinds of people from different backgrounds, and working with a multi-disciplined team to complete a project.
What advice have you found particularly helpful in starting and developing your business?
I think the biggest thing has just been the advice to find a way to keep going when things get hard. We’ve found our share of times when it seemed like everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong.
Interview with Doug LeDuc. To suggest a Career Path, contact Lisa Esquivel Long at 260-426-26140, ext. 3311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.