Each month, we present a solution proposed by a start-up. This month it's Plantiga's connected insole.

Plantiga is a Canadian start-up based in Vancouver that has developed a smart insole that uses accelerometry to track and analyse movement on the field, in the clinic or at home. This connected insole is aimed at seniors from a health perspective as well as elite athletes looking for performance.

The Plantiga concept is based on a box that is inserted into the sole of the foot, an insole, an interface and a web platform. The "box" contains a 6-axis inertial unit with a sampling frequency of 416 Hz, i.e. 196 data records per second and a storage capacity of 8 hours.

The Plantiga connected insole precisely measures step frequency, step length, stride, time in contact with the ground, forces, distribution of forces between the two feet, running time, flight, asymmetries between the two legs, relaxation, speed, acceleration, deceleration, distance travelled during walking, running or jumping.

Several scientific publications have already validated the product and many research projects have been initiated with internationally renowned researchers and universities in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Plantiga aims to be the next breakthrough consumer product in wearable devices for all types of athletes and health conscious consumers.

Plantiga's strategy is to market its products to physical performance and rehabilitation specialists by positioning itself at the high end of the market. The company then plans to extend it's offering to the general public.

Interview with Quin Sandler, Plantiga co-founder

Quin Sandler
Quin Sandler

Quin, can you introduce yourself?

My name is Quin Sandler and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Plantiga, a wearable smart insole and movement analytics company based in Vancouver, Canada. We support sports and health organizations with advanced analytics on how athletes move in real-world environments (court, field, track, road - wherever). Data from our smart insoles improve injury rehab outcomes, reduce injury risk and optimize performance

Beyond sports, our platform is utilized in orthopedics, physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Why did you create Plantiga? Who is the current team?

I founded Plantiga with my father, Norman McKay, as a side project over a decade ago. The goal was the democratization of biomechanics and movement health. He saw how valuable a gait lab was, but understand how much friciton was involved in collecting and analyzing biomechanical/movement data. And collecting outside the lab was near impossible.

Today, there is no way for most people to access this valualbe dataset. My father passed away from prostate cancer in 2017 right before Plantiga raised it’s pre-seed round (from the Creative Destcurtiong Lab accelerator in Toronto). His vision lives on in our work. He understood that by enabling data collection and analysis of movement data in real-world environments, that it would overhaul how health and performance is delivered.

Today, we have a 12 person team with deep domain expertise across hardware, software, machine learning, AI, manufacturing, applied sport science and product desidgn. We build everything in our tech stack, including manufacutring and assembling the hardware oursleves at our offices in Vancouver, Canada. Our Chief Scientific Officer is a world renowned scientist, coach, professor and researcher, Dr. Matt Jordan.

What problem does Plantiga respond to?

For human performance and rehab specialists, we solve the problem of measuring movement in ecological relevant environments. In essense, we bring the lab to the person with a valid, accurate, powerful, and unobtrusive small sensor that can be embedded in an insole, sock liner, orthotic or shoe.
Our platform provides the insights that enable practitioners to make better care decisions, improving outcomes across return-to-play/injury rehab, injury prevention and performance.

What are Plantiga’s successes?

  • Generated USD $1.1MM in revenue to date - spans both hardware and subscription lines.
  • Secured $1.6MM in orders to be delivered over the next 18 months.
  • Built an extensive patent portfolio. Most notably, a broad patent covering any type of motion-sensing apparatus that is built into a footwear item.
  • Select customers include the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, LA Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, the US Tennis Association, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Virginia.
  • Existing and new investors include: Petteri Lahtela (Founder, Oura Ring), Radical Ventures, ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Will Fuller (Miami Dolphins), Thaddeus Young (Toronto Raptors), and others.

What are the next steps for product development?

We are focusing on extending our automatic movement detection algorithms to identify and assess various sport specific movements. We will continue to invest in our reporting and data visualizations, as well as building out our mobile app with consumer friendly UX/UI. Our mobile app where be all athletes/patients can view the data collected on them, and will lead the way to our consumer offering. We will also launch a consumer beta program for athletes, tracking 150 - 200 individually over 2023/2024.

Do you have scientific publications validating Plantiga?

Here’s a great page that lists of our internal and external validation: https://plantiga.com/validation
As well, these are the three abstracts on our system’s reliability and were shown at the American College of Sports Medicine:

We are also going through an extensive round of validation with National Basketball Association (NBA) as we will be on the ‘approved wearables list’ for next year, which means any player can be tracked with Plantiga with the sign-off from the Player’s Union and the NBA.

What is the best way to contact you for potential investors or clients?

Any investors intersted in our current, $2MM Pre-Series A SAFE, please contact Quin Sandler at qsandler@plantiga.com.

In closing, Plantiga's vision is to be the next category defining consumer wearable products that every athlete wears, along with weekend warriors and health conscious consumers. Our focus on the human performance and rehab specialist is how we will build a consumer brand that has a reputation as elite, high-end and rooted in science.

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