Adapy, Inc. appeared on the cover of Executive Headline Magazine in Silicon Valley.
Read it online at: https://executiveheadlines.com/magazine/20-Best-Companies-to-Watch-in-2022

Ensuring Mobility for Disabled People Through Smart Technology

Disabled individuals who want to drive face challenges not typically experienced by other drivers. While most people can get into their vehicles relatively quickly and start driving, the disabled first must spend up to fifteen minutes using multiple remote controls to open doors, operate lifts, and raise seats. This process gets repeated multiple times each day and further becomes more complicated in cases where a remote control fails to operate. As one would expect, disabled drivers generally spend more time in the heat, rain, and cold than other drivers as they wait for their vehicles to be ready to use.

Committed to ensuring better mobility for disabled people through smart technology, Adapy Inc. is re-inventing the way disabled people prepare their vehicles for use. The company, through its patented innovation, enables disabled people to automate the process of preparing their vehicles for driving by tapping just a few buttons on their smartphones.

In 2021, Adapy was founded by Aaron Werner who was inspired by military veteran and spinal cord injury survivor Andrew Evans, the two set out to perfect the technology of helping the disabled to experience greater freedom and independence. Aaron has been a vanguard in enterprise technology development for over 20 years. He has developed several software applications in the video gaming industry, marketing, and financial spaces. Owing to his motivating encounter with Andrew, he was inspired to ease the lives of people with ambulatory issues by developing a framework to bring smarter technology to the existing adaptive space.

Perfecting Technology for Greater Freedom

While serving in the US Air Force, Andrew was wounded and was, hence, bound to a wheelchair. Hearing of Aaron’s tech ventures, he sought him on the task of developing an idea that he had been thinking about since 2015. It was an invention that would help individuals with mobility issues just like Andrew. Although the idea was creative, it was extremely challenging as it involved designing electronic components that interface cloud services, mobile frameworks, and Bluetooth® technologies tackling such things as automation, security, and safety.  However, Aaron felt a desire to help those who suffer daily from mobility issues. Learning more about Andrew’s personal trials motivated him to continue to perfect the idea into a viable product. Aaron, along with Andrew, organized a group of volunteers to assist in this project and was successful in developing it into a working product.

In order to test its success, Andrew plugged the prototype into his vehicle and pressed a few buttons and what was once a daunting task for someone with limited mobility became automated at the push of a button. Since its successful testing, Adapy has expanded its technology to work with most adaptive devices (wheelchair lifts, cranes, transfer seats, etc.), secured a utility patent, and started a business that helps others experience better mobility through technology.

Engineered to Simplify Lives

Adapy™ is engineered to make life easier for millions of people with disabilities. The typical mobility and wheeling process takes up to 5-15 minutes and can become further exhaustive due to extreme outdoor temperatures of heat or cold which can make the experience go from an inconvenience to a dangerous situation. According to Aaron, people like Andrew with Spinal Cord Injuries may also lack the descending sympathetic control to respond appropriately to environmental changes in temperature. As a result, they may experience high or low body temperatures and must manage temperature dysregulation by controlling the temperature of their environment, dressing in appropriate clothing, and regulating exertion with exercise.

Adapy™ allows the user to prepare their vehicle in advance from their mobile phone with a tap of a button from a safe distance. It comes pre-programmed for each adaptive device installed in the vehicle. The user simply plugs in the universal adapter to their existing lift device and downloads the mobile app, and pairs it with the device. As a result, wheelchair users can immediately enjoy full control over their vehicle’s adaptive devices by preparing their vehicle for entry from a climate-controlled home, garage, or building without exposure to the elements. The crane, seat, lift, and door controls are consolidated onto one device, their mobile phone.

Improving the ability of Mobility”

Operating with the simple goal, of “improving the ability of mobility,” Adapy seeks to improve the lives of those individuals who experience the challenges of limited mobility. The company believes it can provide a solution with innovations in modern technology that can reach a massive audience around the globe.

Adapy customers are made up of the 75 million people [8] that depend on wheelchairs for mobility with a narrower focus on those individuals that have experienced a spinal cord injury (SCI). According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) [4], 282,000 persons in the U.S suffer from SCI and 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. every year, with vehicular crashes being the leading cause of injury. Neurological injury to any portion of the CNS that regulates Tcore, such as SCI, stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc. frequently results in thermoregulatory dysfunction and increases the risk of morbidity and mortality from exposure to extreme ambient temperatures [2][3].

The value proposition of the adapy solution is that it can help mitigate risks associated with these individuals’ lack of descending sympathetic control to respond appropriately to environmental changes in temperature by reducing the exposure and time it takes for the end-user to ready their vehicle’s adaptive devices in preparation for entering and exiting a vehicle in harsh weather conditions. A vehicle can be prepared for entry from a safe climate-controlled location such as a garage, residence, or building using their smartphone. The Adapy technology can reduce the time of exposure to harsh elements to under 120 seconds instead of the traditional 5-15 minutes.

The Innovative Adapy Smart hub is a hardware apparatus that is designed in a way that interfaces with adaptive mobility devices. Think of it as a hub that all adaptive devices are plugged into. The Adapy Smart hub is connected to a mobile phone and mobile application via a Bluetooth® connection. This connection provides the environment needed to communicate with the adaptive devices and initiate control functions such as moving a crane up and down, opening doors, and moving seats. Currently, wired remote controls manage the movement of the adaptive devices but with Adapy, the user can now control these adaptive devices from his or her mobile phone from the comfort of a climate-controlled environment. It is important to note that adaptive devices come in all forms, they may have different functions to assist with mobility, different remote controls, or communication protocols based on specific analog or digital signals and Adapy is designed to communicate with the majority of these devices.

The Market

According to Grand View Research [5] the global wheelchair market size was valued at USD 2.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 8.0% from 2021 to 2028. The rising population of geriatrics and the rise in the number of disorders such as spinal cord injuries requiring mobility assistance are some of the key factors driving the market. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. every year, with vehicular crashes being the leading cause of injury [4]. Thus, the U.S. stands as a key market for wheelchair use.

Dr. Catherine Bearce Nowak, Attending Physician, Division of Genetics and Genomics at Boston’s Children’s Hospital stated, “Assistive technologies are an important addition to physical and occupational therapy.”

The need for Adapy is not only scientifically validated through existing research studies focused on SCI and the danger of exposure to harsh environments, but it is also validated through the evolution of smart technologies such as home automation and the adoption of such technology by global markets.

A study by the Pew Research Center suggests that “the population has reached near-saturation levels of adoption of some technologies. Put simply, in some instances there just aren’t many non-users left. For example, nine in ten or more adults younger than 50 say they go online or own a smartphone.”

When you consider 75 million people worldwide, many with a smartphone in hand it becomes apparent that bridging that smartphone with their adaptive devices is not only a logical choice but it may be the one thing that revolutionizes the mobility space.

Customers and Business Model

75 million people worldwide need a wheelchair daily. This represents 1% of the world’s population. In America, 13.7% of the population have issues related to mobility and there are an estimated 3.3 million wheelchair users. It is estimated that in the United States, the number of wheelchair users is expected to increase each year by 2 million.

Adapy’s business model is very simple, to provide the Adapy Technology to users of existing adaptive devices as well as the new customers entering the space. This technology is automated and will reduce the time it takes to enter and exit a vehicle, reduce risks associated with exposure and create a community of mobile app wheelchair users for future product and service offerings.

The Adapy Smart Hub will transform old outdated cranes, lifts, or adaptive devices by giving them a new user-friendly mobile control experience without making the end-user purchase updated adaptive devices. The consumer saves money by avoiding hefty purchases of new equipment that can sometimes cost between $1000-$25,000 for a single lift.

Another transformative aspect of this technology is its ability to cross-integrate with adaptive devices. Adaptive devices from various vendors are now brought together for the first time and interfaced through the Adapy Smart Hub. This provides multiple opportunities for advancement in the area of mobility and automation, since Adapy can now control all adaptive devices within the vehicle, software algorithms can be created to run multiple functions or commands that otherwise would be initiated independently. For example, a single button press or swipe of the screen on the mobile application could initiate the movement and direction of multiple adaptive devices in the sequenced order that would be required to ready the entry vehicle; this might include opening the doors, folding the lift, lowering the lift, raising the lift, folding the lift and then closing the door.

In addition to creating routine functions of movement, the technology may also have the potential to cyber-fence the vehicle by using smart technology that recognizes when the user is within proximity of the vehicle. Using Bluetooth 4.0 and Secure Simple Pairing SSP, the Adapy Smart hub can automatically connect with the user’s mobile phone when in range and if intended, initiate pre-arranged commands to ready the vehicle or interact with the user.

Imagine someone with limited mobility wheeling out to their vehicle and the actual vehicle recognizing them and starting the process of preparing their vehicle for entry without any input from the user other than confirmation. The confirmation can even be an audible gesture. This is possible with Adapy and it truly is a transformative experience from what is currently being accepted in the mobility space.

With such a massive potential customer base the company needed to identify the best approach to launch the product into the market. Fortunately, this space is already tamed. The company has identified over 400 existing adaptive device installers across America. These installers already work with the wheelchair communities on a local level.

The company’s initial approach will be to offer an installation certification to these installers and leverage their existing reach into local communities to not only promote Adapy but also do the installation of the product. The company is also working on a partnership program with existing manufacturers of adaptive devices, who may offer a private branded or white label solution through their organization.

The end goal is always the same, provide freedom and independence to those with limited mobility. We believe that through strategic relationships, committed partners, and our incredible technology we can accomplish this.

Distinguished Array of Accolades

Working hand-in-hand with IP attorney Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, Aaron and Andrew were awarded a US Patent for the device they created to help those that suffer from ambulatory issues with limited mobility. Adapy™ states that through its innovation, disabled people will be able to automate the process of preparing their vehicles for driving by tapping just a few buttons on their smartphones.

Further owing to its disruptive innovation, Adapy has been recognized with a plethora of awards and accolades. In 2021, it received the ProBoPat Patent Grant Award by MiCasa Resource Center, Pitch Award (Utah Tech University) by Atwood Innovation Plaza. In 2022, it was recognized as ‘Startup of the Year’ and was the Globee Award winner. The company also received its second patent ProBoPat Patent Grant Award from the MiCasa Resource Center. Moreover, Adapy has been endorsed by ManaMed, Inc., which specializes in durable medical equipment, as well as Marc Andrus RRT, MBA, a surveyor for the Joint Commission. The company’s technology has also been reviewed by the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).

Aspiring to go Beyond the Vehicle

Adapy’s patented Smart Mobility System is ready to be offered to disabled drivers around the nation. With Adapy’s patented device, the user will simply plug the Adapy™ Smart Hub into their adaptive equipment installed in or on their vehicle and pair it with the Adapy Mobile App. One app will now do the work of multiple remotes, including automated processes which are often called ‘scenes’.

It will also provide the opportunity to build scenes which means instead of just using it as a remote, the user can pre-record a series of movements of the adaptive equipment like a crane (think moving it into position).  As they move the crane, the steps or movements are recorded in the app, and then the user can play it back each time they need to enter or exit their vehicle. This means that for individuals with very limited muscular control, accomplishing the various processes of prepping their vehicle will be reduced to only the single press of a button on the mobile app.

Anticipating similar integrations and proliferation in the future, Adapy aims to impact the lives of millions of disabled individuals by using its patented framework to extend the concept of better mobility through automation into daily living in the next five years. Adapy aspires to take its technology beyond the vehicle and into everyday life for the disabled by extending its functionality to work in any environment crossing over into home automation, physical therapy equipment, extended care facilities, and more.

Key Takeaway:

“We believe we have the solution and the platform to automate everything adaptive! The key to this is our mobile app and our patented hardware which allows the protocols necessary for both analog and digital communication of the adaptive equipment. We take age-old adaptive equipment and with a simple connection to our Smart Hub, bring it into the next generation of smart devices, providing not only mobile controls but full smart automation. Adapy’s technology is the first of its kind to bridge the gap between adaptive equipment and manufacturers. For the first time ever, a product created by one manufacturer can work seamlessly in an automated fashion with another piece of adaptive equipment from a completely different manufacturer, thus allowing the disabled to experience a single point of control for all of their adaptive equipment.”

We are hopeful that millions of disabled people who operate adaptive mobility devices in conjunction with their vehicle will now be able to experience greater freedom and independence.”

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