Orders roll in for ABQ’s SmackCap

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer/Albuquerque Journal

Pressure Analysis' SmackCAP is imbedded with sensors that track and measure all blows to head in contact sports, which is then transmitted wirelessly to the sidelines for coaches, medical professionals and others to analyze in real time.


Pre-orders for Pressure Analysis Co.’s “SmackCap” for wireless head-impact monitoring in sports are rolling in as the company moves closer to mass-manufacturing capability.

To help facilitate the process, the University of New Mexico’s Co-Investment Fund has awarded $100,000 for PAC, the ABQ startup that’s marketing the SmackCap for use in rough contact sports like football and soccer. In addition, the company upgraded its marketing rights from its previous “option to license” the SmackCap technology to a full license to commercialize it from UNM’s Science and Technology Corp., the university’s tech-transfer office.

The UNM Co-Investment Fund awards money to startups working to commercialize university inventions. The original SmackCap technology was developed by UNM engineering professor Scott Sibbitt, now a PAC co-founder.

“We are extremely happy to have closed on the licensing deal and funding with STC,” Sibbett said. “We have more than 100 pre-orders for SmackCaps. It is essential that we fill these orders soon and be ready to fill follow-on orders.”

To do that, PAC joined Team Technologies early this year, a business accelerator that helps local startups design and build new hardware. Before joining, PAC had created hand-made prototypes of the SmackCap, which were field-tested by the Duke City Gladiators indoor football team last year.

But to scale up production, mass-manufacturing capability is critical, said PAC co-founder Lori Upham.

“Team Technologies is helping us get ready,” Upham said. “We have a distributor that will help us set up distribution channels once we get a large number of devices ready to ship.”

That could still take another six to nine months, Sibbett said.

UNM funding will help with that, and with packaging, regulatory clearances and new software to relay the wireless monitoring of head-impacts to the sidelines.

The company is now developing a smartphone app for coaches, trainers and parents of athletes for immediate access to all head-injury data during games tracked by sensors imbedded in the SmackCap.

The UNM Foundation has dedicated 1 percent of its corpus, or about $1.8 million dollars, to funding startups through the Co-Investment Fund. To date, it’s invested about $1.17 million in 12 companies, said STC President and CEO Lisa Kuuttila.

Investments are matching funds that boost private investment in startups. To date, PAC has raised about $100,000 from individuals.

“The company is definitely on the move and making good progress,” Kuuttila said. “There’s a real need for long-term tracking of head injuries in contact sports. We believe the market is craving technology like this.”

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