Albuquerque, NM, August 1, 2017. Local start-up Pressure Analysis Company (PAC) and STC.UNM, the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) technology-transfer organization, recently closed on a license agreement and investment. PAC is developing a wireless, impact-monitoring skullcap for athletes in contact sports based on sensor technology created at UNM. The company’s flagship product is a pliable, breathable sensor array built into an athlete’s conventional cap. The technology has many monitoring applications in the field of tactile sensing technology, particularly for football, rugby and soccer. It was field-tested last summer at home games of the Duke City Gladiators, an Albuquerque-based, semi-pro football team.
PAC’s SmackCap™ can be worn with or without helmets. It is embedded with tiny, wireless impact sensors that detect and track in real time the location and magnitude of impacts with high sensitivity and accuracy. PAC is now developing a smartphone app that brings a player’s on-field data into the hands of trainers and parents alike. The app will also provide historical information on an athlete’s hits over a season and career.
“We know that neural and cognitive damage occurs when a hit is too strong, or if there are just too many low-level hits,” said PAC CEO Scott S. Sibbett, a Research Professor at UNM and the inventor of the UNM technology. “We want a tool that anyone can use to help determine the best course of action for all players on the field.”
The license agreement with STC coincided with investment approval from STC’s Co-Investment Fund Committee. The UNM Regents established the Co-Investment Fund to co-invest with angel groups and venture capital funds in start-up companies licensing technology created at UNM. A PAC co-investor is matching the $100,000 UNM investment. Sibbett added, “We are extremely happy to have closed on the licensing deal and funding with STC.”
Lisa Kuuttila, STC CEO, emphasized how important the local fund has been in supporting young companies in New Mexico. “Lack of funding in New Mexico for early-stage start-ups is the biggest obstacle to their growth and, ultimately, a big obstacle to economic development in the state. New companies that can’t find early-stage funding are leaving the state in higher numbers. Having the Co-Investment Fund has helped us to help these young tech companies survive so that the technology attracts follow-on investment, leading to products and jobs that spur economic activity in New Mexico.”
With the support and technical assistance of a new accelerator at Team Technologies, Inc., an Albuquerque high-tech manufacturing firm, PAC is moving into high-volume production. “We have more than one-hundred pre-orders for SmackCaps,” said Sibbett, “and it is essential that we fill these orders soon, and be ready to fill follow-on orders.”
To read more, see Kevin Robinson-Avila’s August 3, 2017 article, “Orders roll in for ABQ’s SmackCap,” from the Albuquerque Journal, reprinted below.
Orders roll in for ABQ’s SmackCap
By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 at 1:25pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Pre-orders for Pressure Analysis Co.’s “SmackCap” for wireless head-impact monitoring in sports are rolling in as the company moves closer to mass-manufacturing capability.
To help facilitate the process, the University of New Mexico’s Co-Investment Fund has awarded $100,000 for PAC, the ABQ startup that’s marketing the SmackCap for use in rough contact sports like football and soccer. In addition, the company upgraded its marketing rights from its previous “option to license” the SmackCap technology to a full license to commercialize it from UNM’s Science and Technology Corp., the university’s tech-transfer office.
The UNM Co-Investment Fund awards money to startups working to commercialize university inventions. The original SmackCap technology was developed by UNM engineering professor Scott Sibbitt, now a PAC co-founder.
“We are extremely happy to have closed on the licensing deal and funding with STC,” Sibbett said. “We have more than 100 pre-orders for SmackCaps. It is essential that we fill these orders soon and be ready to fill follow-on orders.”
To do that, PAC joined Team Technologies early this year, a business accelerator that helps local startups design and build new hardware. Before joining, PAC had created hand-made prototypes of the SmackCap, which were field-tested by the Duke City Gladiators indoor football team last year.
But to scale up production, mass-manufacturing capability is critical, said PAC co-founder Lori Upham.
“Team Technologies is helping us get ready,” Upham said. “We have a distributor that will help us set up distribution channels once we get a large number of devices ready to ship.”
That could still take another six to nine months, Sibbett said.
UNM funding will help with that, and with packaging, regulatory clearances and new software to relay the wireless monitoring of head-impacts to the sidelines.
The company is now developing a smartphone app for coaches, trainers and parents of athletes for immediate access to all head-injury data during games tracked by sensors imbedded in the SmackCap.
The UNM Foundation has dedicated 1 percent of its corpus, or about $1.8 million dollars, to funding startups through the Co-Investment Fund. To date, it’s invested about $1.17 million in 12 companies, said STC President and CEO Lisa Kuuttila.
Investments are matching funds that boost private investment in startups. To date, PAC has raised about $100,000 from individuals.
“The company is definitely on the move and making good progress,” Kuuttila said. “There’s a real need for long-term tracking of head injuries in contact sports. We believe the market is craving technology like this.”
About Pressure Analysis Company (PAC)
Pressure Analysis Company (PAC) spun out of research originally conducted at UNM. The basic core technology has been proven to be more accurate and consistent as shown in competitive testing at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and as published by them in the International Journal of Impact Engineering. Visit the company website at https://epactechnologies.com/.
As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico (UNM), STC.UNM (STC) protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring them to the marketplace. We connect the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to these UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of start-up companies. STC’s vision is to play a vital role in New Mexico’s economic development and to be a leader in technology commercialization. Under the leadership of CEO Lisa Kuuttila, STC is substantially growing its program using the Rainforest model to develop an innovation economy in New Mexico. To learn more about us, visit our website at http://www.stc.unm.edu.