My short bio: I am Anthony Gonzales, Co-Founder of Force Impact Technologies, exclusive producer of the FITGuard: Impact Indicating Mouthguard.

My Proof:

In May 2013 quit my job at a fortune 100 company, and packed my bags and moved in with my parents (temporarily), half way through a full-time MBA program.

I have since, completed my MBA in Supply Chain, raised and spent $140k of seed funding, moved into my own place, and continued on my goal of producing a device that will improve sports safety in youth athletics. My journey has been filled with many setbacks, a ton of controversy, and a hell of a lot of desire to succeed.

Update Thanks very much for all of the great questions. I am no longer checking this- Contact me at: [email protected] ~~I will be back Nov 3rd 12:00 PST to answer the rest of the questions that get posted over night ~~

Comments: 294 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

KnifehandHolsters61 karma

How did you take your concept from an idea to a working model without risking someone snatching it from you in the process? Do you patent the concept first?

I'm working up an invention that involves something I know little about, making the creation of a working model difficult without sharing my ideas with someone else.

vtjohnhurt63 karma

A working model is not part of the patent application process. You don't have to prove that something works in order to get a patent.

FITGuard81 karma

Yup exactly. We filed for our patent way before we have a working prototype.

AriaGalactica14 karma

Pretty savvy! I wish you the best in your endeavour.

FITGuard14 karma

Thank you very much!

FITGuard29 karma

Initially, NDA (non-disclosure agreements), which is essentially just a written down handshake and does not mean much if you don't have the legal/financial ability to enforce it. We approached a design firm and had it quoted out. It was way more than we were expecting. We too, had no idea what we were doing. We were both MBA's working at a semi-conductor company. We were able to get a lot of opinions and feedback from Electrical Engineers without having to pay for it. If I were you, I would try to find a co-founder who has the skills that will be needed to make the invention come to life - I would recommend co-founders lab. Additionally there has to be some element of trust. Starting a company is hard, bringing a tangible product to market is even harder. You may feel that someone might "steal" your idea, but chances are if they were capable of doing something like that, they would be too busy with their own stuff.

Magictadpole8 karma

Is your product going to be something along the line of holsters for people with knife hands?

Edit: maybe something that rhymes with life-land-lolsters?

FITGuard34 karma

I don't understand this question, I am sorry.

Magictadpole14 karma

Oh, miscommunication, I was just joking about that guy's username and him talking about launching his own product line. Nothing directed towards you!

FITGuard57 karma

I literally sat here for like 5 mins trying to figure out what the hell kind of smart ass comment you were trying to make. ahha. I am glad to know it had nothing to do with mouthguards any more. lol

deezy1394 karma

I'm not exactly a patent law expert, but what's called a provisional patent might be a good thing for you to look into. Provisional patents don't go to the reviewer's desk, but act as a place holder for you in the legal process. As I remember they don't need to be as complete as utility patent (the kind that goes before a reviewer) and can be amended as necessary to full utility patent standards and basically label an idea as yours while you do extra development. I believe that they expire after a year at which point they either need to be filed for a utility patent or let go.

Another thing to watch carefully is public disclosures, meaning basically anyone outside your company. Once an idea is publicly disclosed it has one year where it can be claimed on a patent or it becomes public domain, meaning the patent will be effectively unenforceable if someone can prove they knew about it prior to one year of the filing date, if it does make it through the patent process.

Like I said, I'm not a patent lawyer but I would say keep your idea within your company if you work for one it will be filed under or to yourself if you don't, and consult with a patent law firm for your legal options regarding enlisting the help of others to develop the claims you seek to patent.

FITGuard14 karma

I would reach out to the law school at your local school and see if they provide and free patent advice. You can also give my patent attorney a call. He is a great guy:

viveknarayan9639 karma

So what are the products you are going to produce? And how does it be distinct from the present ones?....and explain for which kind of sports are you initially preferring???

FITGuard36 karma

We are going to produce the FITGuard first, which will focus on measuring cranial acceleration. This is different than other devices because the sensors for measuring acceleration are inside of the skull as opposed to outside the body. Additionally mouthguards can be used in pretty much any sport and are not proprietary for a specific one, like a helmet. As a former Rugby player the devices will be build and geared with that in mind. However, the easiest may be America Football when we sell in the US.

mroxiful19 karma

How are you going to measure cranial acceleration with a mouth-guard which, supposedly, is placed in the mouth?

FITGuard23 karma

Using an accelerometer to measure linear acceleration and a gyroscope to measure angular acceleration.

povsky17 karma

What frequency are you sampling the data at?

FITGuard21 karma

Proportional the the rate of acceleration. It increases as acceleration increases. We are still tweaking our algorithms the perfect this but at each level of acceleration range has a different sampling frequency.

povsky12 karma

What's the max sampling rate then?

povsky18 karma


I briefly worked for one of the companies you mentioned in another comment (not Shock Doctor), and I really appreciate any effort to make these impact indicators more affordable/accurate to the general public. I wish you guys the best of luck.

FITGuard14 karma

Thanks so much for the affirmation. If you have any feedback I would gladly accept it!

explodar13 karma

If you're pitching it to rugby players, I would consider pitching to Roller Derby. It's commonly compared to rugby. The WFTDA Championships were just held in Nashville, and in December Dallas is hosting the Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup, hosting over 30 countries.

There are hundreds of leagues in America alone, your market would be massive. Especially considering that concussions are incredibly commonplace in the sport because of how intense the level of contact impact is.

If you'd like, please check out a few national level games from last year's Championships on the WFTDA Youtube Channel.

FITGuard13 karma

Ironically, we have seen the most demand from roller derby from individuals. I definitely appreciate this resource. They have some big convention in Vegas that we plan on attending next year.

explodar7 karma

Yep, you're thinking of RollerCon. That would be an awesome venue for you to connect with. They offer booths for vendors, so I would look into that if you're ready for that kind of marketing around that time. I think it's actually pretty affordable to rent a booth space there.

FITGuard16 karma

Yeah thats it! Yeah they reached out to us last year, we just were not ready. Well if you are there, Ill try my best to remember you! Stop by and say hello. A FITGuard might "fall off the truck" for you.

jorge12134 karma

You should then know, that a great way to eliminate all these concussions would be to just take the padding and helmets away. I saw a handful of concussions playing rugby in college. Football in highschool, probably five fold more.

FITGuard19 karma

Yes, I agree. Moral Chaos. Knowing how to tackle> big hits. However, "eliminate all these concussions" will never happen. You can reduce them through education.

superkase11 karma

This is a popular opinion on reddit, but it wouldn't work that way. I played football for six years and the only time I got knocked out was while playing a game of tag football in PE.

FITGuard40 karma

Keyboard warriors always have opinions about sports they have never played.

GspotJr6 karma

You are aware that a concussion can and frequently does occur with out the person getting knocked out right?

FITGuard11 karma

Very much so.

nohiddenmeaning1 karma

I'm not American, but even from over here the NFL seems as open to gadgets unveiling the potential danger of the sport, as Arnold Schwarzenegger is to a love weekend with Bradley Manning. How is that supposed to go together?

FITGuard2 karma

We are not targeting the NFL, we are doing the exact opposite. Targeting kids, with a simply low margin, high volume product. we are NOT the solution. We are just another tool that can be used to help.

defcon-1216 karma

When expensive shipments are delivered, they often come with stickers that change color if the package has experienced an acceleration/deceleration force over a certain threshold. Couldn't we just attach similar stickers to helmets (or embed in a mouth guard) for a solution that's cheaper, more reliable, and easier to see when it's been tripped than an electronic accelerometer?

FITGuard43 karma

Yes you could and there is currently a product out there that does something very similar. However, it's one time use. Additionally, the outside of the helmet doesn't correlate well to the center of gravity of the brain [which is what we are truly trying to measure]. Also, it would mean non-helmeted sports would not have an effective solution. You also get into the problem of dropping your helmet on accident and it going off, not noticing the sticker changed colors, and not being able to tell the difference from an indication that was slightly over the threshold or 300% over the threshold.

lukas8u14 karma

If that sticker was at a 1 and the center of the brain was a 10 in terms of accuracy when measuring impact, where would you place your mouthguard in effectiveness at measuring?

FITGuard3 karma

5-7 due to effectiveness being related to determining a concussion and not related to accuracy of acceleration. We can measure acceleration and provide data, but data is useless unless it can be converted to comprehendible information. I am apprehensive to give ourselves too much credit, because we simply do not know yet. We haven't tested. We have not been in a lab, or on the field. There are just so many unknowns and the whole thing is so subjective to began with. Doctors don't even agree on what it means to have a concussion. There is not set standard. Everything is subjective and open for interpretation .

rr3dd1tt3 karma

Piggybacking on the previous question, what happens when a concussion-producing force hit occurs but, the mouthguard is ejected from the mouth, thereby giving a possibly lower, inaccurate reading? Is there a way in which the device is able to detect if/when it is dislodged from the user and possibly be able to extrapolate a range of at least possible concussion risk?

FITGuard5 karma

The clenching of the teeth is very important in the accuracy of our device. If the mouth is open, or not shut, the reading will simply not be accurate. We hope on a later revision we can introduce a sensor that measure the jaw pressure to add a range of validity for the data. So we will be able to see a 25g rating, but know if that was a good reading or should be taken with a grain of salt and could have been much worse, or conversely, less than what was perceived. *Our device isn't a substitute for normal concussion protocol we just are an additional tool. We are not the solution. *

OrdigitalGngstr14 karma

How do you cope? Obviously you are doing things right since you are continually passionate and moving strongly forward with developing your product. Still, with that inevitably comes the concern of failure, be that in relationships, financially, mentally, the idea overall, etc. after giving up the much more stable life you had before. This must affect you, and I know that because I'm working hard at building a business as well.

I hope you succeed in what you are doing, both for the safety factor in sports and your own personal goals, but I see firsthand how tough it can get mentally. I cope by remaining well rounded in other aspects of life that appeal to me, like exercising, having scheduled time just for me, and taking a five minute walk every hour while I'm at work. I fully believe I will be financially successful one day because of what I'm doing now, and I'm coping with the stress of it all very well I like to think.

I wanted to ask you how you do it both because I feel it is smart for current entrepreneurs to compare notes and build off one another in how they get through the pre-success stress, and because I think it is important for aspiring entrepreneurs to know ways they can help themselves out in the beginning by reducing their stress levels through tried-and-true methods that have worked for others.

Best of luck to you with your ventures.

FITGuard22 karma

Wow great questions. Honestly, I have a very supportive significant other who constantly reinforces my abilities and keeps me mentally on track. When I am negative and have a case of founders depression. She helps me focus on why I started, and how well I have done so far. Additionally I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 5-6 times a week. If I don't train my productivity plummets. I get so stressed that I need to just train. I also get to work from home. I have 4 wiener dogs(two- permanent two-foster) who LOVE attention. Every hour or so one of them will come by for some lovin' which I am never too busy to pass around. Additionally, I talk about my problems to lots of my friends and family. I have one friend who is a lawyer, another who is in sales, others in engineering, pretty much anytime I have a problem, I know someone who can relate to that, so I reach out to them and vent. Lastly, I have a very supportive business partner/co-founder. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a co-founder who you can work with, day in and day out. Sometimes I speak with my co-founder more than my live in S.O. Getting of the house helps me as well. I am a sucker for good food, so when I get stressed Ill go eat at local joint that I favorite.

IAmSpectrop10 karma

You mentioned that the mouthguard will have a wireless changing cradle. Therefore, it's safe to assume that the mouthguard has a battery inside of it (lithium ion I assume). What happens if the mouthguard's battery explodes after one of the countless number of impacts that it will suffer? Are teeth capable of withstanding that force?

FITGuard22 karma

Yes there will be a battery, but not Lith Ion, that is much too dangerous. Check these out:

If you have any more questions about these batteries (I am not sure how technical you are) let me know!

danisaacs9 karma

Did you spend all the money on extra commas?

FITGuard11 karma

I bought them from Vanna White.

Fiji_Artesian7 karma

In the description you mentioned "a ton of controversy." What is the controversy that has been around this?

Are there currently products like this and if so who would be your biggest competitor?

FITGuard19 karma

"You can't say that" / "where are you thresholds coming from" / "That isn't going to be accurate" / "You think you can solve concussions". Essentially, it's a chicken and egg situation. We are trying to develop thresholds that correlate to levels of risk for individual demographics based off age, weight and gender. However, there is no dataset to work with, because there is no way to collect the data. Therefore, our device hopes to create the first dataset for cranial accelerations in youth athletics. We can then improve the thresholds we are using with all the data we receive. We can update our thresholds when new information comes in. Additionally, people are quick to questions our integrity and accuracy of our devices ability to "predict concussions". Which is no where close to what we are doing. We are simply measuring force and displaying that force to user. We are NOT a medical device, we do NOT diagnose, insinuate, or imply injury. The change of colors on our device is simply to display the level of risk that particular hit might have resulted in a head injury and that the user should be removed from play for further evaluation.

There are other competitors in the impact indicator space such as the: Checklight, Brain Sentry, Impact Indicator, i1biosystem, & x2bioImpact. The biggest competitor would be Shock Doctor, simply because they dominate the mouthguard market, even though they had have any value added technology.

vtjohnhurt5 karma

I applaud your efforts to obtain a dataset. I think that people may be surprised by the results and that it may lead to change. People do not like change.

FITGuard15 karma

This is a big reason why we are targeting individuals who place safety above winning.

Solkre5 karma

Are you hoping to get your product a mandated purchase in youth sports? Similar to what Sawstop is doing with school workshops?

FITGuard3 karma

That is the goal. It doesn't have to be our device, but some time of "impact indication" mandate. We just hope to be the most cost-effective solution. Additionally we hope to add some hard data to reinforce certain philosophies. For example, the NFL's heads up football claims their leagues are safer because all the coaches are "heads up certified". We would love to be able to prove or disprove this claim, by having the data to back it up.

chefatwork4 karma

I know I'm late to the party, but I hope this is a relevant question that may be answered at a later date.

I coach youth sports, specifically football (American) ages 7-12. Sports safety starts young, teaching our kids and their parents how to be properly outfitted in order to enjoy playing the game as safely as possible. So.

Are you working on anything that takes a "bottom up" approach such as teaching/counseling coaches and parents at our age group to better prepare our athletes for the future? I'd love to be able to talk to my kids' parents and say "this is absolutely proven to be the best safety measure on the market"

Thank you.

FITGuard5 karma

First, let me plug this complementary product that will be useful for your age group: I have no affiliation with them. However to your point. The NFL head's up football, claims that their leagues are safer because their coaches are all "certified" they teach "proper" techniques, an the athletes will be saver from all of this educated game play. We would love to be able to use our data to prove or disprove these claims. Example: "We were able to reduce the amount of head injury 30% year over year by implementing the XX System, as proven by 2 years of data from the FITGuard compared to a control league equipped with FITGuards that did not use the XX System"

Pikatech3454 karma

Is there any one person who convinced you to do what you believe in? If so, who?

FITGuard6 karma

Great question. There was not a single person who convinced me, however, I was strongly supported by the parents of have reached out to us to thank us for what we are trying to do. They understand that we are trying to keep concussed athletes off the field. I believe in this so much because I lived it. I created this device, because I was a victim of not having something like this. Check out my video as a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year if you want to hear more about my reason for starting this company:

Ecator3 karma

Just wanted to say thanks for making the application of technology to keep players safe your priority. Whatever the cost if your product can save a life or save one person from a really bad injury I would say it was worth it. I guess I have to ask a question so how do you motivate yourself after a setback?

FITGuard6 karma

Comments like this, and knowing deep down this is bigger than me. My problems, setbacks, and issues are temporary. However, permanent brain damage due to an undetected concussion are not. I truly think this is something that is need, and I am hell-bent on making it happen.

Mostfunguy3 karma

What do you think of the price point? Why am I going to buy a hundred dollar piece of equipment instead of buying 175 of them for my kids?

I mean, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it just seems kinda like a large expense for something that could cost so little

FITGuard7 karma

As long as we educate them on the price for an "Impact Indicator". We are not trying to sell a hundred dollar mouthguard, we are trying to sell a $99 impact indicators that is in the form of a mouthguard. Other impact indicators start around $150+ and they are typically an accessory only. Meaning you don't have to buy it, its a luxury. On the contrary most people are already spending $20-$40 on a mouthguard. So the upsell to have our technology is way less than a competitor. However it is very difficult to educate users about this

Ill refer to my previous response above. This is the difficult thing we have trying to communicate. We are not trying to compete against other mouthguards, we are competing again other impact indicators. A parent who would spend spend $150 on a headband for an "impact indicator" is the person we are going after. We are trying to save them money by having that same value in a mouthguard. Which can be used in any sport, and is required in a major of contact sports.

red2wedge1 karma

$150 is cost prohibitive given the technology. If a $50-ish price point can be reached this could be very easily implemented.

FITGuard2 karma

It can be, but only with high volumes, 50-75k units annually. We will get there. Also we are starting out at $99. :)

red2wedge2 karma

Are they mold able at home or custom fit?

FITGuard2 karma

Boil and Bite at home. Although, we will be releasing a custom fit version.

babyfarts0073 karma

How rich are your parents?

FITGuard3 karma

Fairly to moderately. They aren't super wealthy that you would think twice about it, however, there was never a concern about money growing up. My college was paid for by my parents. I got a new car at 16. They gave me money in school so I didn't have to work - roughly $1000 a month for room & board. Most would say they were rich, relative to the most of the population, but it wasnt anything to brag about. I guess they make $200-300k annually combined. I am extremely fortunate to have them support me growing up. I was a true blessing. (they invested $25,000 into the company in case that is what you were getting at)

rabba613 karma

When is comes to molding the mouthpiece, will the heat mess with the sensor? Also how comfortable is the mouth piece? Can you feel the sensor through the mouthpiece material?

FITGuard4 karma

The truth is, we simply don't know. We can test and theorize on prototypes, but until we are in production and it comes off the line and we test it, we will never know. The injection molding is done at a cooler temp than normal for this consideration around 300 F. The mouthguard should feel like any normal boil and bite device, you will not be able to feel the sensors, but it may feel bulky and big if you are use to thin mouthguards.

tumbleweed1993sf3 karma

How will you compete with the other companies developing similar technologies? I have seen several companies developing a very similar product.

FITGuard5 karma

Initially through the market we are targeting. Most companies are focusing on football and other ethnocentric America sports. However, we are targeting Rugby and Soccer, two non-helmeted sports with a HUGE player base. Additionally, we want to be a low-margin, high-volume product. Our device does not provide ANY value, if one cannot afford to purchase it in the first place. We want to be the commodity of impact indicators, not the Rolls Royce. Many of our competitions are focusing on the NFL and are fighting over a few big fish. We are taking the exact opposite approach and trying to keep the ones who are most vulnerable; kids.

tumbleweed1993sf2 karma

Very nice response. Could you give a brief description of the workflow for detecting trauma? Do you plug in your mouthguard to a computer after your match? What's the battery life?

FITGuard3 karma

Accelerometer and Gyro are sampling acceleration constantly, if a pre-determined threshold is breached, LEDs will change colors, BLE is turned on and makes the devices findable. If smartphone is in change, push notification will be sent to phone.

The player should be removed from play and the device should sync with our app. Therefore, after a severe impact, the FIT application prompts individuals to perform an Acute Concussion Evaluation (A.C.E.) for the player that has been removed for play.The A.C.E. does not diagnose a potential concussion, however, the results will be useful to provide to a physician, when they are making their official clinical diagnoses. In addition, the impact data (without any names or identifying information) is uploaded to our servers in hopes that it will create the first database of cranial forces in youth sport. This is important because it will allow further research to be conducted to better understand the risk athletes expose themselves to.

bluzeee2 karma

Glad to see this clearly mentioned ' a low-margin, high-volume product'

FITGuard2 karma

Yeah our first batch of 1000 units will barely pay for itself, but as we ramp up we will get the cost savings on the back end. Once we get to the 10k-20k units. The real margin comes in.

GrindyMcGrindy3 karma

No one has told you that concussions aren't necessarily just the big hits? Are you not going to measure for repeated contacted?

FITGuard9 karma

Great question! And yes, that is why our 3 color system will indicate that the mouthguard is on and functioning properly (green), an athlete received a medium force impact (blue), an aggregation of multiple medium force impacts (flashing blue), and an athlete received a severe impact (red).

We keep track of sub-concussive force impacts, commonly found in heading a soccer ball. Again it is important to understand the device will constantly track and register ALL impacts. It will only indicate (change colors) if a threshold is breached. That does NOT mean that at the end of the day you should NOT sync the device. We encourage users to keep track of actively daily. This will allow one to monitor these sub-concussive impacts if they happen in different intervals, say at daily practices.

GrindyMcGrindy2 karma

Does the color ever change from the flashing blue to red if the aggregate number of blue rated blows exceeds a certain point?

Is there a way to adjust the application to factor in the people that have a history of concussions as they are more likely to experience concussions/concussion-like symptoms from subconcussive blows? Say adjusting the thresholds for example (which could be abused but I'll assume the best of people).

FITGuard6 karma

YES! Great questions. Our app provides Predetermined thresholds which are merely recommendations. However, I am a huge proponent of open-source. We simple provide the hardware and allow the users to over ride our threshold and set them at whatever they want! If you want to only be notified at 100 g and flash pink. Then go head, its your FITGuard. Our device focuses on accurate measures, the thresholds are arbitrary at this point(although good faith estimates backed by sound medical logic), so we allow the users to adjust them as they see fit.

Riotroom1 karma

I'm curious would minor hits accumulate for a heavy footed runner? Or someone who chews on their mouthguard?

FITGuard5 karma

No, 15-20 g would be a minor hit. At a duration of 3-5ms. (this is for a 21+, 180lbs [75kg] male)

mindwasblank2 karma

Very cool! Great idea. I am taking business and management courses, discussed passion in regards to business start-ups last week, so great timing. Can you tell me about the planning process? I am assuming you developed a business plan in order to acquire the capital you spent. Did you start with a quick first screen analysis then full feasibility, and what were your results? Can you discuss the results of the feasibility work in retrospect, e.g. did you avoid a red flag or fudge some data to make it seem feasible? I am afraid passion could cause me to make something seem better than it really is and affect planning. Thanks!

FITGuard2 karma

Well, I am over optimistic, I overlook risk and tend to hope for the best. My co-founder is the exact opposite. Always assuming we are going to fail and that the worst will happen. Its a good yin & yang partnership. Being ignorance and optimistic are not to be interchangeable. We did not develop a full business plan, but we did a ton of number crunching. Since we worked with a bunch of electrical engineers we could pick their brains. I worked in sales I could look up pricing information. We were both athletes we know there was a need. However, in retrospect, we were grossly uninformed. Although, had we been fully informed before we started we might have been scared off. Maybe this analogy will help. Imagine you are cliff jumping in the dark, you're not sure how far down the water is. You know it's down there, you know it's far, you're not sure how far. You can ask a friend who just jumped, but you will never really know unless you jump. You can think, study, guess, calculate, but until you jump you will never know. Once you jump you think HOLY FUCK this is a lot farther than I expected. As you land and dunk into the water, you think dear lord I can't believe I just fucking did that. I am safe, unharmed, and grateful. The next day you come back and look at the cliff at the day time and think, "WOW I would have never jumped had I known". Although, I am glad I jumped.

deevil_knievel1 karma

how much more accurate are your sensors by being "closer to the center of gravity of the brain" than sensors in a headband or inside of a helmet?

FITGuard2 karma

It isn't a matter of accurate. Both sensors are 100% accurate, they just don't correlate to the C.G of the Brains as well (source: Meaning their readings have higher variance for what one could expect the brain should have felt. Maybe this analogy will help, imagine having a thermometer and having one in your arm pit and one in your mouth because you want to measure your CORE temp. Both thermometers are accurate, however, one would have a higher correlation to what the actual core temp is, due to its location.

deevil_knievel1 karma

okay, let me put it this way: what is the difference between your product's readings, what's currently available, and a cg?

FITGuard2 karma

You deleted your last comment here was my answer: The current devices on the market are all start-ups as well. They don't have market share, so there is nothing to replace. Everything is so new, there isn't some leading product that needs to be replaced. That is a few years down the line for our company life cycle. I would say of the 30 million youth athletes, perhaps less than 10,000 have an impact indicating device. So 1/3000 kids? Give or take. Also, the battery is sealed and not replaceable. I appreciate your feedback and opinion. Thanks for sharing!

We will be doing our testing at USC sports Impact Injury lab. We will have two test dummies one with out mouthguard and one with sensors at the CG of the brain. We will test for correlation. That wont happen until May June of 2015

fourg1 karma

Have you tried getting on a show like Shark Tank?

FITGuard5 karma

We were slated for Season 6 but were cut one week before filming in Aug of 14. We are scheduled to film June 2015 for Season 7, but we are not holding our breath. We are pretty butt-hurt about being cut and how "lead-on" we were, although they always disclaimed with "you're not on the show until you're standing in front of the sharks"

bustown881 karma

I'm working on a research analysis paper at the moment at my university and having played a relatively high level of hockey growing up, I'm no stranger to concussions. I just want to clarify a term for myself here, not fully understanding or perhaps just being a little too tired to visualize, but what I read on your page about the mouthguard measuring linear and angular acceleration, this means that it measures any force that is applied to another part of the body, yet still can result in TBI as it 'radiates' to the head and neck?

FITGuard3 karma

We don't know yet. But we aren't the first people who are trying to do this. Stanford has had a mouthguard that measures acceleration for years. We let them do the heavy lifting on that type of research. We are trying to provide a cheap cost effective solution based on their information.

cuttlefish101 karma

I'm very late, hopefully you can still answer though, sorry if this question is repeated I haven't got time to read through everything.

I play Rugby at loose-head/hooker at one level down from national in Australia in under 20s. Iv played at a high level of Union/League for over 10 years now and head injuries is something that iv always tried to ignore.

I know the real dangers, I know the long term consequences of the heavy impacts, but if i'm honest with you it isn't something that is going to make me stop - it's my passion and I live for the big impacts.

I experience high head impact and trauma every game I play, it's just the nature of the game. To this date, I have only been knocked out three times, each individual occasion wasn't linked, they were just high trauma incidents. But I digress...

I have not found any issue with concussion or head injury despite these factors, so how will this be able to distinguish between continued high impact that leads to concussion and impact that does not? It is obviously targeted as a guideline for medical staff and trainers, but someone in a position like mine may be unfairly pulled from a game for no good reason.

In saying that, I fucking love the idea and if I was in a better financial position I would definitely support you guys, hopefully lots of people can do what I can't. Good luck!

FITGuard2 karma

Well as mentioned in a previous comment, we are simply providing hardware that measure acceleration. If you choose to not use that information, so be it. At least you have it. If you want to over-ride our recommended thresholds and have it only light up at 100g and flash pink, then you can set your FITGuard to do it. We are simply providing a tool, if you use that tool different or in another manner it isn't wrong, its just how it works best for you. If you want to use a hammer to paint a fence, no one is going to stop you.

thakemist1 karma

Florida Tech?

FITGuard3 karma

Wait what? No Arizona State. ALL DAY! #GoDevils!

Oax_Mike1 karma

Do you think that for team sports all of the kids on the team would need one, or could some parents choose to buy one and other kids not?

What will a single FITGuard retail for?

FITGuard5 karma

Obviously we would love to see the whole team outfitted with them, but that is the beauty of our device. You as an individual [or parent] can take responsibility for your own health. You can chose to purchase and use a device all on your own without needed the whole team to be apart of the system. However, we do have a network or hive effect, where the more FITGuards that are in use, the better the thresholds will be. The more data we have, will allow us to improve each individual's devices accuracy. We expect to retail for around $99 USD which will included the FITGuard, its case, and wireless charging pad.

Oax_Mike2 karma

From your market research is this a price that consumers seem to be willing to pay?

How long does it last for? Can you buy one and use it for 3-4 years?

FITGuard3 karma

As long as we educate them on the price for an "Impact Indicator". We are not trying to sell a hundred dollar mouthguard, we are trying to sell a $99 impact indicators that is in the form of a mouthguard. Other impact indicators start around $150+ and they are typically an accessory only. Meaning you don't have to buy it, its a luxury. On the contrary most people are already spending $20-$40 on a mouthguard. So the upsell to have our technology is way less than a competitor. However it is very difficult to educate users about this. The technology will last long than the physical mouthguard. However often you normally buy mouthgurds. We can only estimate it will last 3-4 years. But much like a cell-phone, we feel the obsolescence risk is very High, because we will have new models every year for people to buy. (with better tech, faster, smaller, etc)

fignugin1 karma

Did you yourself or someone close to you suffer from concussions as a result of contact sports, or are you really just attempting to capitalize on the current public fervor over concussions?

FITGuard2 karma

Yes, my senior year in College during a Rugby match. This device was created from a personal need. I am a user of the device. This past July I took a hip bone to the back of my head in a Rugby match, as I still play on a club team. So even to this very moment I am living as a user.

thatssojamie1 karma

I'm curious how the indicator works for determining a concussion. The two concussions I've had have been from very minor hits, while I have taken HUGE hits and been completely fine. Does this show in any way the likelihood of a concussion occurring or simply the force of the impact?

FITGuard3 karma

We do NOT determine concussions. We are NOT a medical device, we CANNOT diagnose. What we do is measure cranial acceleration and then place that on a probability curve for the likelihood of an injury. That P.C is subjective, but based on good faith estimates backed by peer reviewed medical journals. If you visit our site you can see our medical references.

hifructosewha1 karma

What is the biggest obstacle you've faced so far? Also how do you prevent your innovation being copied by other bigger device manufacturers if they gain traction in the future? Finally do you foresee resistance to adoption in most sports due to costs or other issues?

FITGuard3 karma

The biggest obstacle so far has been crowdfunding. We put all my eggs in one basket. We spent the last of our funds making a professional video, hiring a PR firm, and graphic designers, in the hopes of a successful campaign. Which as of now, is not doing well. We are two weeks into a 40 day campaign and have barely reached 10% of our goal. This was supposed to be our big break. It was going to allow us to say, "SEE, people actually want to pay for this". We were hoping to raise more money through pre-sales in order to pay for a production run. We don't have the funds to produce this device today. We basically have a $100,000 mouthguard haha. However, we haven't given up. We have some publicity in the pipeline and are grinding every day to bring more awareness to our cause. To your second question, we filed a patent in Sept 2013 making claims on any type of notification on a mouthguard, whether it be: sight, sound, feel. Anything. So while we couldn't be directly copied in that sense, there could be some work arounds by simply having the device notification off the mouthguard. At this point it would be cheaper for a Big company to buy us out then it would to try to do their own R&D and fight us in court. We meet with the Global R&D team for Samsung at their HQ in San Jose in June. We signed NDA's and played nice. I am secretly scared to death that in 12 months they are going to release something similar and I am going to be fucked. I hope I didn't give my baby away to a huge company who could destroy me.

Majician1 karma

I'm curious if there's a ping or alarm that goes to your smart device if there's a registered hit? Is it a NFC chip in the mouthguard that delivers the data? If I were were a star player on my college team and I'm in an important game....Let's say I get hard enough that it goes red, but I'm DEAD SET on not leaving the field, Is there any way to prevent "gaming" the mouthguard to avoid detection? (Cover the led, take it out, so on?)

FITGuard4 karma

There is, however we do not advertise this attribute due to the BLE antenna being encased in plastic it drastically reduces the range to mere feets ~ 10 from our estimates. The device uses Bluetooth low-energy. For the exact reason you listed is why we don't target that market. If there is ever a conflict of interest between winning and safety, we no longer provide value. We are there to help amateur athletes, and to keep concussed athletes off the field. For example, see the Michigan football example, where the doctor told the head coach the player had a concussion and the coach still put him back in. That is an effing doctor and his advice was still ignored. There is not way to revert the device unless you sync it with a phone or you leave it completely static for 7 mins. Which would be nearly impossible to do. You could also switch mouthguards with another player. Gross, but I wouldn't put it past kids.

jelloisdelicious1 karma

I just happened upon this and wanted to say thank you for making this! I got a major concussion last year from martial arts, and I'd love to see concussions more easily diagnosed (I know it's not really a diagnostic tool, but it seems like it could be helpful in diagnosing), as most of the times it seems like doctors don't quite understand it, or can really diagnose it.

I think I read somewhere in the comments about how you were struggling with advertising. Have you ever thought of advertising online - like with Google AdWords or Bing? I do a lot of online marketing for a living, so let me know if there is anything I can do to help, I'd love to!

FITGuard4 karma

We have an adwords campaign going, its pay-per-click and we haven't seen much success. I appreciate your offer to help, and we might have to take you up on that shortly as we don't really understand why we aren't getting more traffic to our Indiegogo Campaign.

jelloisdelicious1 karma

Do you know how most of your traffic is being sent to the indiegogo campaign? That may be helpful to know. I think you can install a Google Analytics code on your page, this may give you some insights in to where people are coming from.

What is your goal with the Google AdWords PPC Campaign? Is it brand awareness? Do you want more traffic to your website? More donations?

What aspects of AdWords are you using - is it just the Google Search Network, YouTube, or the Google Display Network?

edit: Feel free to message me, I'm definitely open to helping out as much as I can!

FITGuard2 karma

PM Sent - thanks so much!

Mostfunguy1 karma

Can you re-use them? Like, when a major impact happens does the guard go "back to normal" after a bit?

Or is it like a helmet, buy a new one every time it has a major impact

FITGuard4 karma

Yes, after the device changes colors it will return to normal state once it is synced back to a smartphone. This allows the user to download the registry log, understand what force cause it to trigger, the duration of that force, and direction of impact.

The sensors are rated to measure up to 200g, and are used in other applications like racecars, fighter jets, and space ships, so unless there was direct force (a helmet straight in the kisser aka mouthguard) it should not be an issue.

sme15baseball1 karma

What sports was your mouthguard specifically designed for?

FITGuard2 karma

Rugby and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I played Rugby at ASU and been training BJJ for close to 9 years. My business partner is a Black Belt in BJJ. So essentially martial arts.

yuckyuck131 karma

Does this include proper tackling techinque in american football? I played rugby for 7 years, a series of injuries sidelined me permentaly. But a major problem among american football is head, neck and back injuries. Most can be resolved by enforcing technique, tackling with the shoulder and using the head to push in the direction of the other person.

FITGuard2 karma

Does what include technique? In my opinion, football is about big hits and technique is an after thought. That is why they have pads :P

ClamJammin0 karma

I too started a company last summer. We were just accepted in to an accelerator out of Chicago a couple months ago.

Being in an mba program and having that corporate mindset, was it hard to start thinking lean?

What's your high concept?

Since your buyer is different from your user, how will your brand speak to both with the 25+ year age gap?

FITGuard-1 karma

Yes and no, I actually came out of ASU' Entrepreneurship program as an undergrad and have always had a lean thinking approach. In my personal life I am notoriously known as frugal amongst my friends and family. I think acting and thinking lean came from necessity. No longer did I have a large corporate overhead to support trivial items and task to. Everything had to be done in house and on our own. Congrats on the accelerator program. We are in Edson Venture at ASU. #GODevils.