It’s interesting to contemplate about some of the less obvious associations we make from time to time. Consider Reese’s Pieces, which came as a result of a perceived connection between peanut butter and chocolate most of the world had missed. The visionary who invented Reese’s Pieces exploited the revelation and went on, I’m sure, to make exciting chocolate bar history. How often are those types of connections made? How often do they lead to something fantastic? Similarly, a few creative and enterprising individuals examined the challenges facing the health care industry (specifically the physical rehabilitation aspect) and related video games as potential solutions to those problems. The imaginative and obscure correlation of the two is what has come to form the basic premise upon which the Jintronix business and service has been built.
Jintronix, a Montreal based startup, took the top prize at Montreal’s International Startup Festival and also took home $50,000. Founded by Justin Tan and Mark Evin, the Jintronix system makes use of the Microsoft Kinect technology to develop software that assists individuals in their physical rehab process. Jintronix produces exercises and games that improve memory, balance, coordination and other motor functions. The Jintronix system also extends to a web portal which records salient patient data and progress – which can than be made accessible to a physical therapist or any other health care practitioner.
The story behind Jintronix is just as interesting as the business itself. The idea for a more accessible form of physical therapy came about after Justin Tan’s father suffered a stroke and took on the challenge of physical rehabilitation. Justin’s father helped identify serious problems with common physical therapy treatments most people go through. Several years later Justin partnered with Mark Evin who was already developing a virtual reality system for McGill University’s School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and Jintronix took birth.
Jintronix exists to solve specific problems observed during the convalescence of Justin Tan’s father. The system increases accessibility, improves engagement, and reduces costs to the patient. Jintronix increases accessibility by leveraging the existing Kinect technology and designs their software to work on most household computers. The exercises are informed by feedback from patients and clinicians to assure they will always be successfully engaged. Finally, the system is far less costly than repeated meetings with a physical therapist.
We asked Max Graham, the Jintronix Public Relations Director, if they felt that the Jintronix system would continue to exclusively use the Kinect. Max told us:
“Right now we feel the Kinect is the best solution for us. Microsoft continues to develop and support it, and for the cost, we feel it’s the best fit. We would be neglectful however to not keep an eye open for other developments, and how we can leverage new technologies to better our system.”
Skimble, a health care startup developer of fun mobile applications helping people stay in shape provides a multimedia workout application assisting people in learning new exercises with expert trainers. Skimble does not make use of Kinect technology and is not geared towards physical therapy. Still, their success proves effectively executed startups applying technological advancements to health care services can create firms that are both helpful to the public and finds profits for their founders.
Time will tell what Jintronix will grow toward. Their recognition at the International Startup Festival will hopefully be the first of many positive milestones for the company.