An innovator’s journey from idea to market can be challenging and complicated—but also rewarding. Our Innovator Spotlight series explores how inventor-entrepreneurs in our network have evolved since they started their journey. Our goal is to share key learnings and best practices with early-stage science and technology inventors embarking on a path of innovation and entrepreneurship. Our latest Innovator Spotlight is Sidney Collin, CEO and Co-founder of E-Team, De Oro Devices. The team developed a device for Parkinson’s patients suffering from freezing of gait that attaches to mobility assist devices and uses clinically proven physical therapy techniques that have been known to reduce the number of falls resulting from debilitating symptoms of the disease.
What challenge did you seek to solve with your innovation and why?
Freezing of gait is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s patients describe it as feeling like their feet are glued to the floor. Research shows that external sensory cues can be used to bypass the damaged neural pathways and allow the person to regain mobility. These cues have been scientifically proven to be effective in reducing the duration of freezing episodes and frequency of episodes and falls.
Our innovation, a simple device that incorporates visual and audio cues and attaches to any cane or walker, was originally built for a local veteran in our area suffering from freezing of gait. But when he brought me to a support group with 15 other people that also needed this device, I knew that I had to find a way to make this solution available to more people.
What have you learned along your innovation and entrepreneurship journey?
I’ve learned to not fear business or entrepreneurship. I have a very technical background. I used to feel very out of place talking about entrepreneurship, but once I became more acclimated with it, I realized that business problems are similar to engineering problems. You’re just using different information.
Tell us how you’ve integrated principles of environmental responsibility into your innovation or process.
We’re sourcing products and manufacturing locally to prevent the environmental harms of transporting products long distances. We are also researching packaging materials that are 100% recyclable.
How has support from VentureWell impacted your innovation and venture?
VentureWell has helped us think about other applications for our technology. We realized that our product can be used for stroke rehabilitation as well as for people with multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
What’s next for you?
We’ll soon start taking pre-orders and preparing for our first production run. Our goal is to ship product to customers by the end of the year.
Learn more about the VentureWell E-Team grant program here.