Archive for April 2016

LIM Reaching the Limits of Human Achievement

The innovators at LIM have all the pieces that add up to a cliche startup: it was found by a pair of surfer bros in 2012, the company has its headquarters in San Francisco, they have free yoga in addition to all the other tech stereotypes you hope to find when considering a tech startup of our age. However, LIM isn’t making something utterly useless and darning on the productivity of society like Snapchat or Facebook (or about 70% of anyone doing business in the silicon valley to be honest). What LIM is doing may actually be of benefit to society, and the fact that they have a physical tangible product that fills a real world vacuum with a physical product just goes against everything the tech industry stands for. that is, you need to create something that is totally useless and kind of works, create and identity around the success of said product, get investors, open an office, get a foosball table, make the operation of your beta work slightly better, get a billion dollar valuation, then cash out.

What LIM has been working on for the past 5 years has been to make the ultimate wearable, that is to say: a prosthetic socket that is soft, adjustable and modular. Its difficult for people to grasp that this is in fact a tech company given their real world use and benefit to society but their founder Jeff McKutchen ensures us they are just that, a tech company. Their products are entirely 3D printed. dfagdfgdfgdsfg

It is very hard for people who do not wear prosthetic legs to understand the impact such a high tech prosthetic will have of the world, and the people it serves but the initial tests are extremely positive.

For decades, sockets have been made in very much the same way: the patient sees a prosthetic, a plaster mold is made, and in a few weeks you have a sturdy carbon fiber socket that does little more than serve as an aesthetic component. When adjustments were needed, the whole process began all over again and you were left with the decision as to whether or not you should live with the inconvenience or pay the exorbitant amount of money to get it slightly better. Another consideration of the old way of doing things was the fact that people change, and what fits someone at the beginning of the holiday season might not fit them at the end of it if you know what I mean.

LIM accounted for all of that and is the first wearable that you don’t adjust, it adjusts itself to be in the optimal operation for you. You can still adjust it if you want it different, but in almost every initial trial no wearer opted to manually adjust and found them quite comfortable. wowowoebfb

“if you look at the R&D of prostheses, companies have invested heavily in feet and knees and ankles” said BeTH co-founder, “but a lot of advancements don’t reach a significant portion of the amputee population… if you take 1.5 million amputees in the US you have to look at the percentage of people who are actually going to get the most advance technology versus those who just need anything that can help them walk.”

We are on the beginning of a great change in our country when it comes to assessing the range of able bodied vs. disabled. LIM is doing some great work, and to them I say “break a leg” when these come to market.