The power of partnerships prevails: Five Canadian Organizations join forces in support of applied sport science research

Victoria, BC — Mitacs, Own the Podium, Orpyx Medical Technologies (“Orpyx”), the University of Victoria and the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific have joined forces to provide a new opportunity for applied sport science research. These forward-thinking organizations are collaborating on a project with PhD candidate Samuel Blades from the University of Victoria’s Department of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education.

Originally, Dr. Breanne Everett of Orpyx reached out to Sport Technologist Samuel Blades of the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific to get his expert advice on potential uses of their medical pressure sensing insoles for measuring sport performance. Through some initial discussions between Orpyx, Blades and his graduate supervisors, it became apparent to Blades there is a major technology gap for simple unobtrusive pressure insoles that can be used while running to provide feedback to athletes looking to improve performances and prevent injuries.

Blades’ team, which includes the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, the University of Victoria, and Orpyx, agreed it was worth exploring further. Own the Podium then facilitated the opportunity for collaboration with Mitacs’ Accelerate program, which pairs businesses and graduate students, allowing them to apply their expert research skills and knowledge in a way that creates innovative solutions.

The study will use Orpyx’s pressure-sensitive insole, which is capable of providing real-time feedback to patients with peripheral neuropathy. With minor modifications, the insoles could be used to address the measurement needs of runners. This project will provide hardware recommendations to Orpyx to optimize their insoles for running. Further, this project will assess the day-to-day reliability of the Orpyx SurroSense Rx insole by comparing them to gold standard measures. Upon completion of this research, Orpyx will have the necessary technical information to expand their SurroSense RxTM technology from its current application to the running world, significantly increasing their potential sales market and product diversification options.

This new technology could be used to make training more efficient and prevent injuries in high performance athletes from sports that directly involve running, such as triathlon, endurance race events, rugby and soccer, while also proving beneficial to any sport that use running as an integral part of their training.

“The collaboration among Mitacs, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, University of Victoria, Own the Podium and Orpyx demonstrates the importance of multi-partner research projects in advancing innovation in Canada,” said Dr. Rob Annan, interim CEO and Scientific Director at Mitacs. “This research will help further sport science technology.”

“We designed the SurroSense Rx™ system to be a platform technology for the collection of plantar pressure data for a wide variety of applications and verticals,” said Dr. Breanne Everett, Orpyx founder and CEO. “This partnership is a giant step forward in realizing that vision.”

“This is an excellent example of multiple partners coming together to support a great applied sport science research project that will have an immediate impact on the training of high performance athletes training here in British Columbia,” said Dr. Trent Stellingwerff, Innovation & Research Lead at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. “Samuel has been in the trenches providing performance analysis service to national sport organizations for the past five years; he knows what is missing and the research will be extremely useful within the sport science community”.

Blades is excited about the opportunity and appreciative of the partnerships. “Being able to better incorporate technology into the daily training and competition environments within high performance sport is what’s needed to get ahead. In order to have a true competitive advantage over our international competitors we need to be incorporating innovation, research and technology into our daily routines. I believe this project provides the opportunity for us to do that and I am excited to be at the helm.”

About Mitacs: Mitacs is a national, private not-for-profit organization that develops the next generation of innovators with vital skills through a suite of unique research and training programs: Mitacs Accelerate, Elevate, Step, and Globalink. In partnership with companies, government and universities, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource — its people.

About Own the Podium: Own the Podium, a not-for-profit organization, prioritizes and determines investment strategies to national sport organizations in an effort to deliver more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada. Own the Podium’s largest contributor of funding is the Government of Canada with additional funding provided by the Canadian Olympic Committee and its Canadian Olympic Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, along with the corporate community.

About Orpyx Medical Technologies: Orpyx has created a wearable sensor platform to enable life-changing health tools and empower the user through data analytics. Orpyx is becoming a world leader in innovating and developing wearable sensor-based technologies that provide consumers with quality solutions to better cope with disease and improve overall quality of life.

About University of Victoria: Motion Mobility and Rehabilitation Laboratory is a multipurpose research laboratory at UVic developed by Drs. Marc Klimstra and Sandra Hundza. The focus of the lab spans from the study of neuromechanics in sport as it relates to performance and injury prevention to the study of gait, posture, and balance in older adults and other clinical populations, with the ultimate goal of developing and enhancing effective rehabilitation strategies to promote functional locomotion and fall prevention. The lab employ neurophysiological (electromyography and reflex responses to stimulation), biomechanical (3-D motion capture, pressure sensing walkways, force plates and inertial motion sensors) and motor behavioural measures.

About Canadian Sport Institute Pacific: The Canadian Sport Institute Pacific is a world class Olympic and Paralympic training environment. Through the support of our national and provincial partners, our team of sport scientists and medical experts provide programs and services to athletes and coaches to ensure they have every advantage to win medals for Canada.