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Cutting-edge insoles with advanced characteristics for medical and sports applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InsoFeet (Cutting-edge insoles with advanced characteristics for medical and sports applications)

Période du rapport: 2019-06-01 au 2019-11-30

This project focuses on the insofeet wearable, an innovative smart insole for real-time force/weight distribution sensing for the shoe wearer. Insofeet aims to assist the user/wearer and their supervisor with gait and move pattern details to detect harmful activities and provide alerts and notifications accordingly.
The overall purpose of this project was to identify existing competition and update our business and marketing models, as well as to study and evaluate the financial viability and potential commercial success in large markets, with a feasibility report as the end deliverable.
Gait dynamics’ and biomechanics monitoring is of high importance for several sectors including medical and rehabilitation centers, sports teams as well as industrial companies that are required to comply with Occupational Health and Safety regulations for workers. Insofeet is a completely non-intrusive insole for measuring accurately key gait dynamics’ parameters. Insofeet technology delivers a novel, accurate and relatively low-cost insole that aims to prevent musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, propose load management for safety optimization, as well as increase movement efficiency and precise body control. The insofeet insoles are capable of fitting in different shoe types. The insofeet insole integrates miniature force sensors of high accuracy in a customisable flexible design, adaptable for specific applications. Sensor measurements are collected in real-time, processed through validated algorithms and presented through a friendly interface.
The first main objective was to perform a market feasibility study through market survey, and analysis via desktop research and access to market research reports. In addition, during the market feasibility the objective was to conduct end user studies through surveys, interviews and communication with focus groups and key stakeholders, as well as employ a preliminary review of directives and regulatory requirements, directly relevant to our end-users.
The second main objective was to carry out a technical feasibility study in order identify optimum types of force sensors and study materials requirements and properties. In addition, within the scope of the technical feasibility was to compile a bill of materials and estimate the production costs of insofeet.
The third main objective was to update the initial business plan and to prepare a detailed dissemination and commercialization plan.
In the framework of insofeet SME Phase 1, initially a thorough market study was employed. The study includes data with regards to the existing global wearable market, identification of potential target market sub-segments, as well as, market research on smart footwear and Safety Smart Footwear. This was achieved through extensive study of market research reports and official statistics on global sales market around wearables, as well as, global statistics related to occupational injuries at workplace. Competition analysis and evaluations were conducted during the market research as well. Following the competitive analysis and existing market products, we detect a degree of saturation in the sports market and a high degree of difficulty along with extended timelines to enter the medical sector and acquire medical certifications. On the other hand, surveys and discussions with industrial companies (in Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Italy), sport teams, athletic organisations and governmental bodies, show a high interest for an injury prevention device for use by workers and revealed an increased market potential.
In addition, a technical study was carried out in order to a) to investigate the optimum type of force sensors for the targeted end-user, considering accuracy, sensor size, price and sensitivity, b) to study material requirements based on layers, as well as to identify all electronic components to be used, considering mass-production. Moreover, material/component identification was conducted, and the bill of materials was compiled. This was carried out through direct contact with international manufacturing companies and wholesale material suppliers. The findings were used as input to further optimize our estimations for the production costs of insofeet insole and complete assembly and manufacturing.
Lastly, a detailed and specifically structured business plan was created, including a detailed communication, dissemination and commercialization plan. The business plan was created based on: a) the market study results and the market segmentation, b) the detailed and specifically structured model business canvas, c) the technical report and the production costs, d) sales targets, and e) required investments.
The completed work helped us to further improve substantial aspects related to the project impact and particularly the market study, technical details and business approach.
The findings of the feasibility report also revealed that insofeet can become a leading solution. We are looking ahead on employing our conclusive strategies for achieving highly efficient acceptance rates of insofeet within the targeted markets.
Our upcoming and foremost target is to achieve further support through the EIC funding in order to complete the objectives and goals related to the optimization of the final technical aspects of insofeet, the industrialisation of the product and its certification, the large-scale demonstration and the implementation of all essential communication, dissemination and pre-commercial activities.
Insofeet yields to a promising market opportunity with high probability of product success. The insofeet product proposes a variety of features that extend beyond the current state of the art, with its foremost being the prevention of injuries at workplace. Insofeet, potentially has the capability a) to analyse daily employees’ activities that can be adapted to optimize their movements for better efficiency, b) to analyse the manual handling operations that covers a wide range of activities including lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, lowering, throwing, carrying and provide notifications when regulations limits are overcome and when there is high possibility of injury risk, c) to run biomechanical analysis of gait and activity in order to detect and measure worker fatigue, d) to detect movement/actions that causes back problems and musculoskeletal disorders in general and e) to alert if a worker is on hazardous conditions or allow the worker wearing the footwear to send for help.
What has been identified through the SME Phase 1 Feasibility Study is that there is an identifiable gap that can be filled by the offering and the benefits of insofeet both in terms of its socio-economic as well as its health & safety impact. After better understanding the market opportunities and user requirements, we expect to deliver a product to the market that will provide gait dynamics’ analysis in a real environment, therefore reducing the occupational injury incidents, improving health & safety in the workplace, enhancing productivity, optimising performance, and quick rehabilitation. Indirectly, there are also potential socioeconomic benefits relating to lower insurance claims, lower insurance costs, lower health claims.
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