Bioengineering innovation wins top SPARK award
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wins top SPARK award
A device for measuring human motion took top prize at the 10th annual Spark entrepreneur competition recently.
The miniaturised data logger clinched first place for Mark Finch and Thor Besier of IMeasureU, winning the start-up $25,000 in seed capital and six months at business incubator The ICEHOUSE.
The new start-up company was spun out from the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute (ABI), to commercialise the tiny inertial measurement units.
The pair combined their academic research at the ABI with their passion for sports to develop the measurement unit, which they plan to have on the market next year.
The device is expected to have numerous applications in sports and rehabilitation, but their first product will be a novel running shoe-fitting system, which they hope to have in stores later this year.
“IMeasureU is a play on words with the hardware utilised – an Inertial Measurement Unit or IMU for short,” says Mark Finch. “Our sensor system enables easy and accurate monitoring and measurement of human motion.”
The miniaturised data logger has already been shown to help swimmers analyse their performance by recording speed and movement in the water. The IMUs can provide data on the acceleration, orientation and power of the swimmer in the water and this is stored on its micro SD card and later downloaded to give the swimmer data that will enable them to improve their performance.
“Encapsulating the printed circuit board of the IMU in waterproof materials opens it up to all sorts of new applications,” says Dr Besier.
The second-place winner at Spark was Avatar Anonymous, founded by Vaughan Roberts, Wilma Waterlander, Scott Diener and Jonathan Rawstorn - from IT Support and the National Institute of Health Innovation.
Avatar Anonymous offers virtual reality techniques for assisting in behaviour change, such as losing weight, stopping smoking and encouraging physical activity. Avatar Anonymous will receive $15,000 in seed capital as well as three months’ incubation at The ICEHOUSE.
The third-place winner and winners of the UniServices Commercialisation prize was Taze Technology, which has developed a new way of preserving healthy drinks. Taze Technology will receive three months’ incubation at The ICEHOUSE and $5,000 seed capital from UniServices.
A special $5,000 prize was awarded to co-founders of Learn Emotion Graeme Finch and Eoghan O’Sullivan for their software product aimed at improving the social development, interaction, and communication skills of children with autism.