Introduction

 

Recent Coverage of Sports Engineering, Inc.’s Development Team at Worcester Polytechnic, Inst. (WPI) by Fox 25 Boston, October 24, 2018:

TV segment: See 2-minute segment here.

Worcester News Tonight, Charter TV 3, October 17, 2018:

Sports Engineering, Inc. (SEI) is a Delaware Corporation, formed to commercialize a new type of athletic shoe technology. The company believes that this invention will help make basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, and other sports safer for participants of all ages. Sports Engineering, Inc. has exclusively licensed the patented technology and worldwide rights to the impact absorbing footwear from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). WPI is a private research university in Worcester, Massachusetts, focusing on the instruction and research of technical arts and applied sciences.

SEI’s development team from WPI is led by Professor Christopher Brown, PhD, FASME, former All-American ski racer, ski coach, and member of UVM Athletic Hall of Fame. Dr. Brown has researched orthopedics and ski injuries since 1980, leading students and presenting throughout the US and Europe.

Objectives

The objective of this fully patented footwear is to reduce the risk of ankle, knee, and foot injuries in athletics, without diminishing athletic performance.

The company anticipates licensing the technology to athletic and casual shoe manufacturers worldwide, in all leisure, hiking, military and sports related verticals.

Product/Technology

The unique device is integrated into an athletic shoe that will reduce the risk of knee, foot and ankle injuries by absorbing loads that might otherwise lead to injury.

The absorption part of the sole has a specially designed set of springs that transmit loads consistently across horizontal sliding and vertically collapsing interfaces in the sole for ordinary play.

Market and Application

This platform technology could be used in:

  • Sports/Athletics
  • The Military
  • Firefighting
  • Construction
  • Law Enforcement
  • Hiking
  • Marching
  • Volleyball
  • Cheerleading
  • Martial arts / Fighting sports
  • Racquet sports
  • Casual Footwear (line between sports and casual shoes has blurred)

Commercial Opportunity

The global footwear market is currently $350 billion. The global athletic footwear market is $84 billion. The US athletic footwear market is $22 billion. The company is not aware of any other similar type of injury-reduction footwear being developed.

We believe that over the next 12 months, SEI will be positioned to penetrate the US and foreign footwear market.

Competitive Advantages

The SEI injury-preventative footwear technology has a comprehensive patent suite. There is an issued patent, Patent# 9,730,486, dated 8-15-2017, and four provisional patents filed since then. The company and legal counsel are not aware of any product that is similar.

Testing and timeline

One team is working on the layers that make up the shoe which involve much of the 3-D printing we are doing. In the improved design, an elastic thread will secure the split layers of the shoe while allowing the shoe to move when needed. The skirt will also be included as a protective feature to keep out dirt and water. Another team is working on the functional components inside the shoe such as the spring. This team is doing much of the injection molding for the project. Both teams are working at the same time and our goal is to complete this prototype by the beginning of October.

We are also working on our testing equipment, specifically the individual spring component test and the full shoe test. Our focus for October will be setting up and executing tests on our most recent prototype followed by analysis of the data. We will test through October and with the resulting data we will look to see how we can improve our next version of the shoe. Throughout November we will implement these improvements and create the 8-10 pair trial run of the shoes. These shoes will be tested on both our test rig and will be worn by team members who will test out the performance of the shoes in athletic situations. Our goal is to finish the 8-10 pair production and testing by the end of the first semester, December 14th.

The small trial run will be tested in simulated play situations with in-shoe force measurements. They will then be stripped down, examined and evaluated for ways to improve the design before a larger trial production run that should be accomplished in January 2019.

The company plans to test the finished product with a third party. This could be a medical center with expertise in orthopedics.

  • Oct. 2018 – Working shoe prototype assembled
  • Nov. 2018 – Working prototype ready for testing and evaluation
  • Dec. 2018 – Small run (8-10 pairs) produced for testing on field and court
  • Jan. 2019 – Small run improved and updated and larger run created for testing by end of Jan.