Spring Loaded wins $100K for bionic knee technology development

A Dartmouth-based company is now one step closer to selling its bionic knee braces to the masses.

A made in Nova Scotia solution to a problem experienced around the world

"We wanted Iron Man. We wanted something that can fit under your clothes that no one needs to know what you're wearing, that's so strong it can lift your whole body weight," said Bob Garrish, the company's co-founder. (CBC)

A Dartmouth-based company is now one step closer to selling its bionic knee braces to the masses.

Spring Loaded Technology won a $100,000 grand prize in a Canada-wide young entrepreneur contest.

The funding, provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada, will help the company speed-up its production.

"We will be able to increase our carbon-fibre manufacturing, which is the process we use for making the shells of the brace, which are attached to the user's leg," said Chris Cowper-Smith, co-founder of Spring Loaded Technology.

The light-weight knee braces have a mechanical hinge that provides more stability and support for people with knee injuries with mobility, compared to more traditional braces.

"Our brace can actually assist the user's leg muscle strength and enhance their leg muscle strength by doing so," said Cowper-Smith.

"So the brace effectively uses the own user's kinetic energy and then restores it to them when needed most."

While it will be months before the knee brace will be available for customers, Cowper-Smith said the response during the three-year research and development phase has been overwhelming.

"We've had just thousands of people reach out. ... Everyone from an orthopedic surgeon to a physiotherapist to a potential end user of the brace,"  said Cowper-Smith.

The company plans on selling directly to customers in North America before looking for distributors.

"We'll be able to take that from really a prototype kind of stage up to a production-ready stage to bring our product to market much sooner than we would have otherwise."

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