PEI’s ViTrak Aims for March Launch
Having raised more than $2 million in total financing, Charlottetown-based ViTrak is preparing to beta-test its Stepscan footprint analysis technology, which has applications in healthcare, security and sports.
The pre-commercial company is developing pressure-sensitive tiles that are placed on the floor and can analyse the gait and footprints of anyone who walks on them. The tiles -- on which ViTrak has received two patents -- can be arranged in lines or as squares of up to 400 square feet.
“These pressure-sensitive floor tiles can track, monitor and analyse footprints for medical purposes,” said Crystal Lavallée, CEO of the company.
In an interview at Invest Atlantic last week, Lavallée said doctors can use the tiles to analyse the gait of a handicapped person to assess the efficacy of different therapies.
There is also an application that is unproven, said Lavallée, but is receiving a huge amount of interest: doctors can ask a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease to walk across the tiles, and they can analyse the person’s gait to determine the stage and progression of the disease
To make inroads in the medical community, ViTrak has struck partnerships with Shinshu University in Japan, the Atlantic Veterinary College and the University of New Brunswick Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
But the applications don’t end with the medical uses. By forming a huge square with the tiles, coaches can analyse team movement to help mentor athletes on positioning and plays, and sports medicine doctors can study how athletes jump, land and cut and use the data to help prevent injury.
In the security segment, the obvious application is to place the tiles on a floor to detect a break and enter. But Lavallée has a cleverer use. If someone uses a pass-card to enter a lab or other secure area, there’s no limit to the number of people who can enter once the door is open. But if there are Stepscan tiles on the floor, authorities can tell how many people enter the area and almost identify them. (The latest research found a 96 percent accuracy for people in socks or bare feet.)
ViTrak has applied for regulatory approval of Stepscan as a Class 1 medical device in Canada and unclassified device in the U.S. The company is developing a product launch strategy and is aiming to have the product out by March 31, 2013.
On November 15, the company will receive 40 floor tile units, which will allow it to begin beta-testing the product. It has lined up a network of 12 sales representatives in the U.S. to market it.
The company in March received $1.4 million in funding from the Atlantic Innovation Fund, which it has leveraged with $650,000 in equity investment from angels, most of them from P.E.I.