News / Halifax

Halifax company launches world's first bionic knee brace

The company already has 46 backers, with every $800 donated going towards a free brace for person in need.

Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO of Spring Loaded Technology Inc., holds a knee brace in the production area of the firm's Burnside location in this file photo.

Jeff Harper/Metro

Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO of Spring Loaded Technology Inc., holds a knee brace in the production area of the firm's Burnside location in this file photo.

After years of planning and dozens of prototypes, a Halifax company is leaping into action.

On Wednesday, Spring Loaded Technology officially launched their Indiegogo campaign and pre-orders for Levitation, the world’s first bionic knee brace according to CEO and co-founder Chris Cowper-Smith.

“We’re very excited. We’ve already had purchases from the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia, Italy and elsewhere,” he said.

The online campaign went live Tuesday and within the first day about $57,000 was raised with about 46 backers purchasing the brace at pre-sale prices, Cowper-Smith said, and a goal of $75,000 within the next 30 days.

“It’s been exhilarating,” said Cowper-Smith.

“We’d be obviously trying to blow that goal out of the water and we’ll see how much past it we can actually get.”

The company won the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Young Entrepreneur Award last year, landing them $100,000 towards their project.

Cowper-Smith said unlike other knee braces that keep the leg straight, the Levitation has a spring-loaded hinge mechanism that loads energy when the user bends their knee and releases when they straighten it.

Anyone with a functioning quadricep can then get back to playing sports, walking down stairs and remaining independent while dealing with an injury or arthritis, plus protect people in manual labour jobs.

With introductory prices around $1,449, Cowper-Smith said he and co-founder Bob Garrish know it can be out of price range for many, so every $800 donated through the Indiegogo campaign means they’ll give a brace to someone in need.

“We are here to try and make people’s lives better, and … we’re actually making a product that can really do that to restore mobility and get people back on their feet,” Cowper-Smith said.

It’s been three and half years since they began, with more than 50 prototypes made in their Burnside manufacturing location, Cowper-Smith said.

The first batch of braces will ship this June, and the second phase of their plan includes selling to retail shops over the next several years, Cowper-Smith said.

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