ORB is one of ten finalists for our Inventor Prize, with their product SMART Mouthguard. Here, their founder Robert Paterson tells us more about why their product is so important and their experience of the Inventor Prize so far
Inspiration came after my own experience of being knock unconscious during a game of rugby. Though initially diagnosed with concussion, as my symptoms worsened I was taken back to hospital to be re-examined. A CT scan revealed a subdural haematoma (a bleed between the brain and the skull) which left me bed bound for 5 weeks.
With a background in engineering and the first-hand experience of the complexity head injuries present, I wanted to prevent misdiagnosed head injuries within sport.
Concussion has been the most reported injury for the sixth consecutive year in rugby. It also accounts for a quarter of all injuries within the sport, with a reported 20% diagnosed more than 24 hours after the initial incident. This delayed recognition jeopardises the player’s safety, putting them at increased risk of additional injuries. This is further emphasised with up to an alarming 75% of concussions never reported or diagnosed.
We therefore hope our SMART Mouthguard can bring light to the 'unseen injury' by providing quantifiable data around where, when and why these injuries occur. Whilst working with various sports bodies to advise on the introduction of new and modified protocols, to reduce the number of occurrences and prevent misdiagnosed injuries.
I applied for the Inventor Prize whilst ORB was in the early stages of product and business development. Our mission was clear, but how we were going to achieve it wasn’t. Fresh out of university with a degree in Engineering, I knew how I would go about developing a product, but not a business.
To achieve our mission, ORB was aiming to create an affordable product to provide data insights into the injury on a level that had not been obtainable before. This required both product and business experience to achieve it. As a result, I applied to the Prize hoping that the access to various connections and partners, like Barclays Eagle Labs, would support ORB in the decision-making through all areas of development.
As well as access to experts, being selected as a finalist would also enable a group of founders to come together to share their experiences both good and bad, ultimately helping each other to achieve our goals.
The Inventor Prize has been invaluable in providing support to the business and has taken a proactive approach to ensuring it is supporting us as much as possible. Over the last 8 months, ORB has been connected with various mentors and advisers, from previous and current founders to business strategists and IP lawyers, each providing guidance from their own experience and knowledge.
This has significantly helped ORB to develop over this time as well as have confidence in our approach. Since starting the Prize, we have developed a working proof of concept prototype and tested it, verifying our key technology. We have also gained considerable consumer insight and received support from a national sports body.
It is clear to see how the opportunities the Inventor Prize has presented us with has helped us to reach our current position. In addition, given us the momentum to continue development after the Prize has come to a close.
Robert Paterson, Founder of ORB Innovations