Approximately 1 in 3 senior citizens experience a fall each year and falls are the leading cause of death by an injury among those aged 65 and older.
Surefooted LLC, an Illinois startup, is developing a nascent type of physical therapy equipment with the potential to revolutionize fall prevention. The Surefooted Trainer (“Trainer”), which was developed by Surefooted’s CEO Udai Jayakumar MD, MBA, and COO Brad Taras, MBA, consists of a shifting platform that allows users to safely walk along using a harness. The Trainer aims to improve subjects’ balance skills and enables people to develop and strengthen neuromuscular reflexes.
In recognition of their work, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Surefooted the Phase I STTR grant award for $222,737. Funding from the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program will be used to carry out a 12-month project to further develop and test the efficacy of the Trainer in collaboration with Tanvi Bhatt, PhD PT. Dr. Bhatt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The highly competitive SBIR/STTR program encourages small businesses to participate in federal research and research development. With 2.2 billion dollars set aside annually to support the financing of technologies for small businesses, the SBIR/STTR uses funds to advance scientific research and promote technological innovation.
With funding from a grant through the Illinois University Incubator Network, Anna Lisa Somera provided counseling assistance with Surefooted’s STTR funding application. Such counselling services are awarded to select companies via a competitive application process. Awarded companies are required to be associated with a university and be referred by an incubator within the Illinois University Incubator Network.
“Our end goal is to redefine the standard of care in fall prevention and that goal just became a lot more achievable thanks to this STTR grant,” said Jayakumar.
For more information about Surefooted LLC and the Surefooted Trainer, visit their website.