Reorienting concussion therapy.

Siobhan Karam, a physiotherapist at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto with a background as a professional athlete, began targeting her practice towards post-concussion treatment because she saw a lack of physiotherapists specialized in the area. 

Siobhan became part of a new wave of treatment for this injury that affects over 40,000 Canadians a year. Practitioners realized that — contrary to conventional wisdom — a gradual return to activity, rather than prolonged rest, can lead to a quicker recovery. 

Research showed that cervical proprioception, cervical kinesthesia and sensorimotor input tests can actually also work as exercises to help patients retrain their head and neck functions. Patients point a laser headlamp at a target on a wall, then close their eyes and turn their head up, down, left and right, and then attempt to reorient themselves to the target without using their vision. 

The challenge:

Siobhan realized that no purpose-built product existed for these exercises in Canada. The bootstrap solution of a laser pointer attached to a headband wasn’t cutting it. She saw an opportunity to develop a user-focused solution for use in treatment — a product that would also have applications in laboratory research to advance the science behind concussion injury and recovery. 

Her challenge was to find an integrated product design team to refine her design — one with the sophisticated manufacturing network needed to get the product to market in a tight timeframe. 

“Most people tell you why things can’t work. Cortex tells you, ‘okay, let’s find a solution.’”

-Concussion Labs CEO Siobhan Karam

The Insight:

  • The simplest design is easiest to use — and also easiest to manufacture. Not all heads are the same. Our design separates the headband from the device, allowing it to act as a rotational holder for a low-profile laser pointer that can be adjusted while on the user’s head. This allows intuitive adjustment with minimal mechanical complexity.

Cortex Fundamental Deliverables

  • Go-to-market business strategy development. During development, Cortex identified a strong market positioning for the product, allowing Siobhan to identify a price point that would accommodate design costs while attracting the interest of both manufacturers and customers. 

  • A proven manufacturing network. Concussion Labs leveraged our track record with certifications related to Class 1 Laser Products compliant with 21 CFR 1040.10 and 1040.11. Our production network’s familiarity with sourcing this class of laser product helped bring the product to market in record time from idea to launch.

"Until we met Cortex, finding the right manufacturer was our biggest obstacle. If you’re not someone who has an established network, it’s almost impossible to do it yourself.

Seeing all their other products come to market, you realize how reliably Cortex delivers.

That has been an amazing process, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Their experience has been kind of irreplaceable."

-Concussion Lab CEO Siobhan Karam

© 2022 Cortex Design Inc.

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