Prohab was started by physiotherapist and sports scientist Lyndon Huf in South Australia late in 2016. The company will launch its first product in April at the Commonwealth Games.
The device can be attached to elastic resistance bands commonly used for training and rehabilitation to measure performance and to ensure exercises are being performed within the advised parameters.
Connected via a smartphone app, results can be shared via a “team dashboard” with coaches and health professionals anywhere, instantly.
Huf began developing the system to help his parents who were recovering from shoulder injuries.
“Using the example of shoulders and physiotherapy, you’ll quite often be sent home with some resistance bands but no one’s there to tell you how hard to pull on it or how much to do so you’re really lacking insight,” the Prohab CEO said.
“They can be on the other side of the world and see what their patients are doing and sometimes even what they are not doing like patients skipping days when they are supposed to be rehabilitating.”
Early prototypes evolved into the smartphone solution, helping Prohab win support from the Flinders University and the South Australian Government through its Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP).
Huf also recently travelled to Queensland to participate in SPIN Lab Australia, which is part of HYPE’s global sports innovation program.
The device is on track for a commercial launch in April with strong interest already coming from around Australia and overseas.
Prohab will target two distinct markets: rehab patients and professional sports clubs with a particular focus on shoulder sports that involve throwing, hitting or overhead activity such as swimming, tennis, cricket and baseball.
“Professional sport teams are looking at purchasing this product but our second market is physios and clinicians who have their own practices,” Huf said.
“They have a lot of patients who would benefit from this particularly after shoulder surgery where other devices don’t really have the ability to do it at the moment.
“With the professional sport teams this device just hooks straight in and retrofits into their existing training programs – it will probably help them from a performance point of view – not just in rehabilitation.
“Other potential markets could be gyms, corporate fitness facilities and safety equipment, even in the military.”
Prohab is based in the Tonsley Innovation District in the South Australian capital Adelaide with dozens of other startups. The South Australian squash association is also based in the precinct allowing Prohab to work with several elite players to fine-tune it device.
“Any little iteration that we build in, especially with software but even hardware components we test straight away to see if it works and to see if it meets expectations,” Huf said.
“We can build out a feature in the morning and take it to them for testing and feedback in the afternoon and then start putting an iteration in that day or the next morning.”
Huf said Prohab planned to initially use a combination of local distributors and online sales to get the product to market.
“There are other products out there but no one’s really got a purpose-built device that you just hook onto bands and start exercising with smart intelligence built in to the system in a small handheld device.
“A big part of it in the past six months has been looking at how we can scale this effectively so we’ve partnered with certain companies to give us the capability to scale up and help us to pick up that volume.”
Flinders University Professor and MDPP Director Karen Reynolds said there were high hopes the innovative Prohab device would find success in Australian and international markets.
“We know that arming patients with visual feedback in real time helps improve compliance with rehabilitation exercises, so this simple idea could have a big impact on the health and quality of life for many people following surgery or injury,” she said.
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