Groundbreaking Wheelchair Medical Device Wins Patents in United States, Canada and Japan!
A recent medical innovation in the wheelchair sector demonstrates an inventor’s keen understanding of the power of patents to protect a groundbreaking idea and lay the foundations for financial success.
Matt Mackenzie, a Nova Scotia entrepreneur has successfully received patents in the U.S., Canada and Japan for Paraglide, an automated wheelchair repositioning device, acknowledging it will take several additional months before he can fully commercialize his idea.
The Patent Prosecution Highway helps speeds up the examination process in foreign participating patent offices and was covered in my recent blog post How To Protect Your Idea Outside The United States.
Now, with his device fully protected he can begin showcasing his medical device to the world.
“It’s a simple solution to a huge problem,” said the canny medical device inventor, who for several years, has plied his trade as head of a metal fabrication shop.
It allows a caregiver, or the actual person slumped over in a wheelchair to reposition him or herself by a pressing a Bluetooth button on a hand-held remote control. Electronics inside the cylinder slots into the back of the wheelchair and uses a rotation mechanism to gently wind a fabric sheet placed under the seated person. This draws the person upright again.
It’s an improvement on an original idea presented to him by a local community college who envisioned a more manual process. They gave his machinery shop licensing rights in exchange for building the prototype but one year of failed tests showed Matt that additive machinery automation was required.
He finally got his team together to build a new medical winch device that works very similar to pulling a car out of a ditch. One possible benefactor of the device would be elderly people suffering from severe osteoarthritis that limits strength and mobility in the feet and legs. According to Matt, traditional mechanical lifts take up to 10 minutes to engage versus 30 seconds using the Paraglide.
The device is winning over investors and incubators for a medical device that has cost over $500,000 thus far to build, tweak and configure for the commercial market. Matt created a separate marketing company to help drum up support and leverage commercial and research grants. This led to MacKenzie Healthcare Technologies being named winner of the sixth annual Bio Innovation Challenge which provided some much-needed seed funding.
While it’s often the case that medical device manufacturing is offshored to foreign countries in Asia, the IS0 9001:200-certified precision CNC machine shop owned by Matt was in unique position to offer an end-to-end solution from idea to fabrication.
We will be monitoring the progress of the Paraglide closely as it approaches launch day in the medical device sector!