Spring Loaded’s bionic knee brace provides a new world of possibilities for humans in the future, but as a veterinarian, I can also appreciate it for the possibilities for animals. People do not realize that dogs (and our other furry friends) can also suffer from debilitating knee injuries that leave them with arthritis and pain. With just a few simple modifications, we could offer the bionic brace as an affordable alternative to expensive surgeries that can still leave dogs with decreased mobility and future pain from arthritis. This can also be expanded to police, military, and therapy dogs who are forced to retire early due to these common injuries suffered during their jobs. Imagine being able to help with pain for the next canine officer that can remain on the streets to help protect you and your family.
Simply put, my father is an athlete. Now in his 50’s, the sports in which he participates differ greatly from his youth. That isn’t to say he is any less competitive, in fact, I can hardly imagine him being any more so. Competition is in his blood and that will never change.
When I was 15, I was an avid hiker, competitive kayaker, and runner. I was (and still am) one of those people who really enjoy physical challenge. I love pushing my body as hard as it will let me. That summer, I averaged six hours a day on the water and another two on dry land doing lake runs and other cardio activities. I was getting faster and stronger every day, it was the kind of training they make montages about in the movies. Then, with about two weeks left in the summer, I traded my worn-out sneakers for a new pair. My first run on them was 22km, and left my knees wrecked.
Here’s the weird thing about working at Spring Loaded: people are actually interested in what I do. In other engineering jobs I’ve had, I would often get a polite response and a change of topic. (Oh, you test concrete? Cool. Did you see the hockey game last night?) But when I tell people about what we do here at Spring Loaded, the questions come fast, and keep coming.
As a medical doctor, I know that the knee is one of the most commonly injured joints in the human body. Around 60% of sports-related injuries impact the knees, and the resulting lifetime risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) is estimated to be as high as 45%. And yet, to date conventional knee braces have not really addressed this problem; many patients are left with mobility impairments that force them to give up on doing the things they love. I haven’t just seen this as an ER and family medicine doc, I’ve also experienced knee injuries firsthand. As an avid photographer, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to hike quite a bit through challenging terrain to get to the most photogenic spots. At times, it feels like the knee injuries I’ve personally experienced have the potential to progressively limit the way I can travel in the future.
I fell in love with basketball before I could walk; it has been a part of my family and my life since day one. From the driveway to Madison Square Garden in New York, MacKenzies have played ball at a variety of levels. My earliest memories revolve completely around playing basketball in the backroom with my father, brother and my sister. Being 5 years younger than my brother and sister I had difficulty keeping up, especially in the early years, but basketball quickly became the strongest bond in our family.
Today, I’m proud to announce that Spring Loaded is one of ten finalists in the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur’s Awards. The contest rewards Canadian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-35 whose company has reached a crossroads and needs to implement an innovative solution to ensure their company’s continued growth. The grand prize? $100,000 cash to implement the proposed solution.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 3, 2015 – The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the turning-point project “Bionic Boost,” submitted by local businessman Chris Cowper-Smith and co-founder, Bob Garrish, will represent Nova Scotia for the finals of the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. Chris’s project will help his company, Spring Loaded Technology, bring to market the world’s first bionic knee-brace technology that can enhance strength, mobility and performance. To claim the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 grand prize and fund this project, Chris needs votes from Canadians from coast-to-coast