Minneapolis wearable technology startup Prevent Biometrics has formed to allow parents, coaches and trainers to monitor athletes in real time on the field of play.
Led by Steve Washburn, the former CEO of industry leading athletic mouthguard maker Shock Doctor, Prevent comes from proprietary technology spun out of the Cleveland Clinic.
The to-be-branded “concussion impact monitor” is a battery powered mouthguard with sensors embedded throughout. The device collects data on a number of factors related to the force of gravity on impact and pairs that with a mobile application for alerts that exceed predictive thresholds.
Prevent is building off the pressing need for improved concussion monitoring in contact sports. To date, this has best been accomplished via ‘hit counter’ accelerometer located inside the helmet. The shortcomings of this approach, as you can imagine, include limitations of sports — as well as an inability to correlate the data to a potential concussion due to inadequate accuracy.
Frank Grazzini, Prevent’s co founder and COO, says their secret sauce for improved detection lies within the complex algorthim.
The exact amount of sports-related concussions that occur is not exactly known due to un and under-reporting, but estimates are 3 – 4 million annually per US CDC.
“The world knows very little about concussions since there’s never before been a device to measure factors at such a granular level,” he explains.
“We believe that at least half of all concussions go undetected. When that happens, there is a very high risk for more permanent damage to the brain. This is a serious concern for those who participate in many different sports.”
The startup has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with Cleveland Clinic for the two patents approved and has two others pending. Prevent has been self funded to date and is currently fine tuning for beta release this fall with a market release in 2016; watch for them in this years Minnesota Cup competiton.