The $2.8 million seed money will be helping De Oro to scale up the operations and make this device accessible to more people.
NexStride Attracts $2.8 Million for the Gadget Developed for Fighting Parkinson. Parkinson’s is a fatal disease that creates several challenges for the ones suffering from it. One of the major challenges that they face is the problem of “freezing” during very normal movements. This causes them to fall or even lose mobility. It is however amazing that even minimal external help can assist them to escape these freezing moments or avoid them. De Oro has been able to raise $2.8million to bring their gadget towards commercialization. The gadget is called NexStride portable gadget, which provides these help cues on demand.
The simplest way is to understand what is causing this freezing. Freezing is mainly due to a normal pathway in our brain, that turns the body for impulses like walking forward into actual movement, and does not get activated properly. This issue leads to slow or even stopped movements despite the individual’s willingness to move a limb like they normally would.
NexStride Gadget Developed for Fighting Parkinson
Researchers have found unbelievable techniques that are very effective to prevent this. That is where cueing comes in. when a person hears or sees any external cues that are associated with moving forward, it allows the pathway to let you move forward. Thus, breaking the frozen state of the individual.
The device that De Oro has created provides two such cues. One is a little ding, more like a metronome, that allows the brain to think that it is moving in time with it instead of going with it one step at a time. The second cue is a laser-like projected line that comes ahead of the user’s feet that gives the stimuli needed to activate the idea of stepping past or over instead of just moving forward.
The NexStride gadget is attached to a walker or a cane by a stretchy loop like the one we use on a bike headlight with a controller with a cord that can be placed somewhere where it is convenient for the user. The hardware dials on the main unit allow them to control the tempo and volume of the metronome and also the position of the laser line.
Studies on NexStride Gadget Developed for Fighting Parkinson
There is great efficacy in this approach in the lab and there are plenty of studies supporting this. Clinicians have been recommending this gadget to their clients due to its convenience in improving mobility. But this is not the only item out there in the market. Another gadget is called the U-Step laser and sound-equipped walker. The device is built into the walker itself. But the item itself is quite heavy and large and is not suitable for outdoors. People with mobility issues need something that is compact and does not limit them with where it can be used and where not.
NexStride is becoming more popular due to its compact nature and portability. It can be attached easily to any preferred cane or walker the user wants to use. One more plus thing is that it can be switched in a few minutes thus, relieving its users from choosing between their favorable mobility device.
Its manual operations were a choice of design as was prompted by the users’ feedback. This aspect was also recommended by clinicians to make it a manual thing in contrast to an automatic approach, which NexStride first opted for. According to the experts’ automatic cues are not very helpful as they only trigger when a person stops moving. While with manual control, it gives the ability to the person handling it, who needs it for their daily use.
Price of NexStride Gadget
NexStride is great but the only catch is its retail price of $500 which is not covered yet by insurance. While it is not the most expensive device, the price is still a little hard to contemplate since the device doesn’t look very expensive to build. The company has a stance on it that it is priced according to the competitive standards in the industry while manufacturing it in the US further adds to the cost. While the price of it may sound too much, it is available to any veteran for free. This acts as a vote of confidence from a company that is helping out many patients in need and the Parkinson’s Wellness fund can cover either half or full costs through its grants.
With an aging population, that is quite mobile and healthy, this gadget might become more of a consumer gadget instead of a mobile device. As Parkinson’s affects people mostly in their middle age, we know that the demographic will be doing a lot of competitor research before landing on this device.
The $2.8 million seed money will be helping De Oro to scale up the operations and make this device accessible to more people. The seed round was led by True Wealth Ventures with contributions from StartUp Health, AARP, Kachuwa Impact Fund, Barton Investments, Capital Factory, Wealthing VC Club, and Mentors Fund. The company has already raised $1.5million before this seed round. The innovation and funding here remind us that there are other frontiers than just tech from where startups can start.