By: Lauren Arendt
Imagine feeling like you can’t move a muscle; as if your feet are glued to the floor. This is what freezing of gait feels like, one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
The CIE Incubator company De Oro Devices is dedicated to improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and their first product is a device designed to manage freezing of gait.
“Freezing of gait is an incredibly debilitating symptom,” De Oro Devices Founder and biomedical engineering senior at Cal Poly Sidney Collin said. “It creates a lot of anxiety, creates fear and anxiety and is the leading cause of falls.”
Freezing of gait is caused by a lack of communication between the brain and the body. Collin found, however, that research shows this communication can be jump started using a series of audio and visual cues. This is what inspired the De Oro Devices product designed to counteract freezing of gait.
“We put the most effective audio and visual cues, put them into a small, portable device that fits onto any cane or walker and allow someone to regain movement and overcome freezing of gait episodes wherever they are,” Collin said.
The team has developed a prototype of the product that has already made a difference in people’s lives. It will be the least expensive and most portable device on the market designed to mitigate freezing of gait and the anxiety that comes with it.
“My intention as a person is to use the technology in the world to improve people’s quality of life and this company is an amazing way for me to do that,” Collin said. “Success for us is making products that have a real impact on people’s quality of life.”
De Oro Devices got their start in the Hatchery in Spring 2018. After building a team and solidifying their idea in the on-campus space, the company applied for the accelerator program and were admitted into the Summer 2018 class. After ten weeks of intensive preparation, De Oro Devices launched at Demo Day and continued their journey into the incubator.
“The CIE has been amazing,” Collin said. “There is no way I would be where I am without this program.”
Collin said the support of mentorship, funding, workshops and even office space made the CIE an invaluable experience for De Oro Devices.