The Lower Impact Runner project will continue its efforts as a spin-off and under a new name: OnTracx. The spin-off will focus entirely on the prevention and rehabilitation of running-related injuries. They will do so by providing in-the-field biofeedback to the load runner’s experience every step they take. Why focus on this load aspect? Because 70% of all injuries are mainly caused by too much load compared to what the body can handle.
To refresh your memory: the Lower Impact Runner project was initiated in 2015 as a wearable tool designed to offer music-based feedback on a runner’s impact shock. This was accomplished by attaching a light-weight accelerometer to the runner’s shin. A collaboration between a team of running biomechanics experts, musicologists and engineers worked out a system that can lower this impact in high impact runners.
Initially, the wearable tool comprised wired accelerometers securely taped around the shin and linked with a lightweight trail backpack. In a later stage, it evolved into a more commercially viable solution. This included a fully wearable device and an accompanying smartphone application.
To thoroughly assess the problem-solution alignment, product-market fit and go-to-market strategy, the project was supported by our pre-acceleration track SportUp Boost. The project made significant progress since then, culminating in the transformation into a spin-off under the rebranded identity OnTracx.
OnTracx: what is it and why is it needed?
Approximately 50% of all runners experience at least one injury annually. This results in an estimated 55 million annual running injuries across the EU and US combined. Based on the latest scientific findings, these injuries mainly occur when the load on the body exceeds its coping capacity.
Therefore, OnTracx will offer a solution for both the runner and the running professional (e.g., the physiotherapist, podiatrist, coach, etc.). Central to this innovative technology is the meticulous quantification of a personalized load profile, enabling real-time biofeedback for the runner. As the technology evolves, it will progressively integrate individual health and medical parameters to ensure rehabilitation tailored to the patient.
Who is putting their shoulders to the spin-off? OnTracx is founded by former PhD students Rud Derie, Senne Bonnaerens and business developer Kristof De Mey.
- Rud Derie: “From the very beginning of the academic project, I’ve been lucky to be part of the journey. As we are transitioning from theoretical musings into tangible innovation, it’s clear that our brainchild is ready to evolve from an academic prototype to a full-fledged, impactful product. Alongside Senne and Kristof, we’re forging ahead to make this transformation a reality that runners everywhere can use and hopefully can make an impact.”
- Senne Bonnaerens: “During my PhD I’ve gathered a lot of knowledge into how musculoskeletal loading relates to running injuries. By teaming up with Rud & Kristof, I want to make a difference and translate this knowledge into a solution tailored to the actual runner (and not the lab guineapig).”
- Kristof De Mey: “There’s a clear problem with a potential solution, and it has been developed and validated over the past few years. While there’s still a lot of work to do, I’m happy to join forces with Rud and Senne to make this a reality.”
On the product level, OnTracx is currently translating the research into a commercial prototype to start learning from the market in even more detail. In addition, Rud, Senne and Kristof are going all-in on transforming themselves from academic researchers into entrepreneurs.
They recently received a VLAIO grant for innovative startups. The team is also pitching to other entrepreneurs, investors and accelerators. They recently got approved by both imec.istart as the Bluehealth Innovation Fund.
Interested in the product or team? Check out their initial website and/or join their beta program.