OTD Students Become Entrepreneurs
OTD Students Strive to Help People Reach Their Full Potential
Two students in the first cohort of our entry-level OTD program have applied their passion for improving lives to become entrepreneurs! OTD students Katelyn Marthaler and Kelsi Johnson, Class of 2022, applied for a patent for their innovative idea that supports wheelchair users and have also started a company! Their concept includes a technologically advanced visual aid to help wheelchair users navigate their environment while promoting safety and providing ease of use. They conceived this idea while participating in an assistive technology lab activity where they learned about and used powered mobility devices and have been mentored by OT faculty Dr.Tamara Vos-Draper.
Their idea is based on research showing that accidents frequently occur related to a wheelchair user's limited field of vision of their surroundings. The current market indicates products to support the visual aid, but does not account for the functional aspects of the user or their occupational performance needs. By collaborating with wheelchair users, and keeping function at the forefront of the design, the objective is a resulting product that is affordable as well as feasible.
The mission of their company, Full Potential Innovations, LLC, is to “enhance accessibility, inclusivity, and safety to empower individuals with all abilities to live life to their fullest potential.” To help promote and support their innovation, they created an iFundWomen fundraising campaign website: https://ifundwomen.com/projects/full-potential-innovations.
They are actively seeking funding to further develop their prototype and build a team of experts who can expand the company and product. Funding will be used to support a team of experts who can help them refine a marketable and functional device for end users. The students hope to add a mechanical engineer to their team soon to assist with refining their design.
The work that Kelsi and Katie are doing reflects the focus of our new OTD curriculum design on innovation and professional development. We are excited to follow their progress!