The assistive devices market is valued at nearly $22 billion and is only expected to continue growing. The range of products offered in the market includes mobility aids such as custom wheelchair seating to motor aids like reach extenders. While these devices help ease the life of the user, there isn’t always a one size fits all, making it difficult to find the right device for your needs. This is where Customized Assisted Devices (C.A.D.) come in to help.
CAD was founded by Isaac Franklin and Nathan Jonson, both mechanical engineering students at George Fox University. Their journey started off with their school’s servant engineering program, a course focused on bringing together students and professionals as a team to research, design, and deliver engineering solutions to address humanitarian needs.
Through this program, they were given the opportunity to work with assisted devices. In the early stages of their journey, C.A.D. was brainstorming through various ideas of where to focus. “We went through a list of what are different things that people do on an everyday basis that have a pretty big impact on their ability to just live a normal life and what are things that can impair people from doing that?” says Jonson.
Hence the birth of C.A.D., a team focusing on bringing customizable mice to a mass market of people with disabilities at a reasonable price.
Since beginning their innovation journey, they’ve made a lot of great progress through various iterations and shared their biggest takeaways.
“I would say the biggest thing that I’ve learned is that you have to be able to clearly identify your problem before you can even begin to attack a solution,” says Franklin. He goes on to add, “In our case, we needed to identify the fact that certain individuals can’t use a mouse correctly.”
Jonson added, “I’d say the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from this experience is learning practically how to think outside the box.” He adds by saying, “How can you minimize the customization from a cost perspective but still have it be a fully custom mouse from a use perspective?”
Both C.A.D. members also shared how Invent Oregon has helped shape their perspective on entrepreneurship. “I would say what I’ve learned about myself is that I’m actually not too far away from being able to accomplish this stuff.” Franklins adds, “I feel a lot more confident about what it takes to actually move forward and perhaps start a business, get a patent, that sort of thing.”
Jonson conveyed his experience with the program by saying, “One of the big things I’ve learned about myself through this program is that I really like brainstorming. It’s really fun to think outside the box, it’s really fun to like work with that little mental question of, okay, how can I rethink manufacturing in a different way?”
Looking ahead, C.A.D. is looking to branch into the gaming industry to provide users with better-fitting mice.
“I think there’s a big potential for our product to also be able to hit that market, just because it offers the customizability both from a style perspective and also from an ergonomic perspective,” says Jonson.