SmartSocket was founded by MIT Undergrads Krithika Swaminathan ('17), Erica Green ('17), Trang Luu ('18), Katelyn Sweeney ('18), and Nick Schwartz ('18) in 2015 in order to address the global amputee mobility issue. There is an estimated 3-4 million amputees worldwide according to the World Health Organization, and the majority of them are in developing nations; yet about 90% of global healthcare funding goes to developing high-end devices for established markets. The average lower-limb prosthetic can cost upwards of $10,000, which is striking, even in a westernized context. We wanted to take strides towards normalizing the healthcare market on a global scale by empowering mobility where it is otherwise overlooked by the system at-large.
Our solution is to establish a more comfortable interface between the patient and their prosthetic by using granular, locally sourced materials that align with the natural anatomy of the leg, rather than a single, expensive silicone sheath (the current marketed solution). In doing this, we are able to create a more comfortable liner that adjusts with the fluid shift and volume change in our patients' residual limbs throughout the day. It also drives costs way down, which is a benefit for everyone!
We are constantly striving to create disruptive solutions for our products in order to create the most comfortable, most effective device for our patients. This means that co-creation is a big part of our mission. We believe that you can't create something effectively for someone unless you create with that person. In this case, that means we seek constant feedback from our users and empower them to design with us. Through our partnerships with hospitals in Kenya and Ethiopia, we're working on creating solutions that work technically and integrate well into the lives of our patients.