StageSeed | Alive
Last Raised$200K | 1 yr ago
About Assistive Technology
Assistive Technology develops accessible, at-home physical therapy. Its product, Rehab Robo, redefines the standard of care for physical therapy through exoskeletons. It was founded in 2020 and is based in Berkeley, California.
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Latest Assistive Technology News
May 24, 2023
Steven covers accessibility and assistive technology. Got it! Boom Home Medical Back in mid-January, I covered the EEasy Lid from Consumer Convenience Technologies. In my lede, I wrote that, although most people logically and naturally associate technology with products like AirPods and Apple Watch, the truth of the matter is technology isn’t “singularly about stuff that lights up and makes noise.” Moreover, I also said this lesson is instructive chiefly because humans exist in a tangible, three-dimensional reality. Although it is very true analog pieces of tech like the aforementioned EEasy Lid aren’t nearly as exciting nor as headline-making as iPhones or MacBooks or AirPods, it’s also true analog tools are valid examples of assistive tech in their own right. The Loona , from Boom Home Medical, is another such tool. The Loona is, perhaps unglamorously, a bedside urinal designed for women. The description on the product page describes it as the ideal solution for “anyone with female anatomy” and is perfect for “nighttime urges, recovery after surgery, or injuries, as well as travel and camping.” Put simply, the Loona is a piece of assistive technology meant to make responding to one’s bodily functions a more accessible experience. If you really need a traditional tech hook, the Loona can be bought with Apple Pay for $40. It was designed by the team at Herbst Produkt , the same industrial design firm responsible for the Brita and Molekule. The Loona’s backstory starts with Boom Home Medical co-founders Byrdie Lifson Pompan and Dr. Valerie Ulene connected when, in 2012, Pompan was misdiagnosed by doctors twice. Pompan, a former literary agent at Creative Artists Agency , was initially told she had Bell’s palsy when in actuality she had a brain tumor. (For her part, Dr. Ulene is a physician who specializes in preventative medicine and public health.) Realizing there were other people who needed help in finding the right specialists to treat their healthcare needs, the duo launched Clear Health Advisors, which predates Boom Home Medical. According to Pompan, the idea for Boom Home Medical fittingly came to Dr. Ulene one night when she had to use the bathroom, something she does several times overnight. The medical term for this is nocturia , a condition felt by some 50 million Americans. Statistics show one in three people over the age of 30 experience nocturia, while 70% report being “bothered by it,” according to Pompan. “This simple thought in the middle of the night gave rise [to the Loona],” she said to me in a recent interview via email. MORE FOR YOU “While the Loona was originally conceived of primarily for older adults who often face challenges when it comes to mobility and are at risk of falls when getting up to use the bathroom at night, we quickly recognized that our audience was much broader and that many people could benefit from the convenience of a beautiful bedside urinal that’s simple to use,” Dr. Ulene said in an interview earlier this month. “This includes anyone who wakes up frequently at night because they need to urinate, like pregnant women, as well as people recovering from surgery or an injury. Loona can also be a huge convenience for women when they’re on the go and may not be able to find a clean, accessible bathroom to use.” Both Pompan and Dr. Ulene are cognizant of accessibility benefits of the Loona. The fact of the matter is the product’s relevance and usability goes beyond merely having to go. From a pragmatic perspective, that someone may have a Loona (or any other urinal, for that matter) by their bedside is a true boon in terms of not having to get up. For the elderly or others with certain physical conditions, walking to and from the bathroom, in the dark, is a tenuous proposition. They may not only not make it to the toilet in time, but there also is high probability of falling due to limited range of motion, balance, and impaired vision due in part to darkness. These are not trivial considerations. The team at Boom Home Medical may be intentionally targeting women with the Loona, but the concept has much broader applicability. Anyone can benefit. Make no mistake, the Loona (and its ilk) is bonafide assistive technology. Feedback-wise, Pompan explained it has been “positive and informative.” Openly discussing one’s toileting routine isn’t something most people do, she said, but Boom Home Medical’s customers have been candid about their experiences with the call of nature. “[They’ve] shared deeply personal stories with us—stories about incontinence, about battling cancer, about caring for loved ones,” Pompan said. “They tell us about the obstacles they face every single day and what might make navigating these obstacles easier. We take their stories seriously. We want to listen and learn from them. Ultimately, our goal is to create an entire line of products based around our customers’ needs.” Dr. Ulene seconded her co-founder’s sentiments. “Feedback from our customers has also taught us a lot about who’s using the Loona and why they’re using it,” she said of the response. “Some of this feedback is what we expected—we hear from older adults who are afraid of falling at night and individuals who are recovering from surgery or an injury who struggle to walk to the bathroom. But some of the feedback has come as a real surprise: for example, we’ve heard from long haul truckers who don’t feel safe in the bathrooms available to them on the road, boaters who appreciate having a Loona onboard their headless vessel, and fans of historical reenactments who simply love the Loona’s convenience.” Buyers rave about the Loona online. The product has nearly a 5-star rating, with many people leaving compliments on attributes such as its unobtrusiveness, ease of use, looks, portability, and more. One person gave it five stars for how it helps collect urine to use as garden fertilizer. Critics have acclaimed the Loona as well. Dr. Ulene told me the product has “won all three of the most prestigious design awards for consumer products” in this year’s Edison Awards, Red Dot Awards, and IF Awards. The honors, she added, go a long way in “further [supporting] our disruptor status in the home medical products industry.” As for Boom Home Medical’s future ambitions, although the Loona is not technical in the conventional sense, the company has plans to incorporate technology into future inventions. Dr. Ulene said future versions of the Loona may include technology that assists in accessible, at-home urine testing. There’s a lot of potential for iteration. “Loona is just the start for Boom Home Medical. We plan to release a suite of products in all four categories of home medical products—toileting, bathing, dressing, and mobility—to meet consumers’ needs,” Pompan said of the company’s future endeavors. “We already have several new products in the early manufacturing stages, including a Loona designed for on-the-go use, a personal urinal for men, and beautiful disposable, absorbent underpads that protect beds and chairs against urinary leakage. Everything we make will be beautifully designed, highly functional, and easy to use because we believe no one should ever feel embarrassed caring for their basic human needs.” Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn . Check out my website .
Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Assistive Technology founded?
Assistive Technology was founded in 2020.
Where is Assistive Technology's headquarters?
Assistive Technology's headquarters is located at Berkeley.
What is Assistive Technology's latest funding round?
Assistive Technology's latest funding round is Seed.
How much did Assistive Technology raise?
Assistive Technology raised a total of $200K.
Who are the investors of Assistive Technology?
Investors of Assistive Technology include Berkeley SkyDeck and Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst.
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