Minnesota tech entrepreneur Roger Schmitz has Moxie.
It was March of last year when Hutchinson Technology began cost cutting layoffs of 30-40% that would consolidate and shift the firms headquarters to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Caught in that wake was 18 year veteran Roger Schmitz, an engineer who had became intimately familiar with the companies medical division over time.
“I obviously had to do something,” he says frankly.
Schmitz partnered with Stuart Giere after hitting the reset button and ended up licensing the same intellectual property he had a hand in developing while employed at Hutchinson. Under their company, Fortiori Design, they have set out to commercialize a system designed to measure muscle oxygen saturation (Smo2) within an athlete’s muscles while they exercise.
The resulting product, known as Moxy Muscle Oxygen Monitor, is an embedded clothing sensor which feeds data to device using ANT+ and/or Bluetooth so serious athletes (those who train for and participate in endurance type events such as triathlons) can respond by adjusting intensity to reach peak performance levels.
Schmitz likens it to an intensity meter for a given muscle, similar to the way a heart rate monitor functions.
“Oxygen is critical to how the cells in your muscle produce energy,” he says, “…and athletes have a tendency to underdo the hard intervals and overdo the easier ones.”
By shining near infrared light into certain muscles, Moxy measures how much of the hemoglobin inside each muscle is saturated with oxygen. The result is expressed as SmO2 which enables an athlete to identify their ‘steady state’ level and monitor their variation in real time.
“We’ve taken a deep dive to create a solution that costs significantly less than any product currently available,” he says.
The second round of prototypes have proven effective according to Schmitz, who explains that there are currently 6 professional training facilities that are evaluating Moxy Monitor, including one in England and one Canada. The company is bootstrapped to date, and is identifying specific use cases while making the product commercially viable.
Fortiori’s goal is to bring Moxy to market next summer.