Startups
Awards / Design / Hardware / Startups

Hardware startup Tozuda’s flagship product gets a redesign after national manufacturing award win

Founder and CEO Jessie Garcia think it's only a matter of time before head sensor technology is a requirement for athletes.

Jessie Garcia. (Courtesy photo)

Tozuda has continued to make moves as it develops its head impact sensor.

The sensor, which is built to be directly attached to athletic helmets, does not detect concussions, but reacts to significant impacts and indicates when an athlete should be evaluated for a concussion. When it turns red, it signals that the wearer should get tested for a potential TBI, or traumatic brain injury.

The hardware company — now based out of the Pennovation Center in Grays Ferry after launching at NextFab — received a national manufacturing grant called the Protolabs Cool Idea Award last month, winning in-kind manufacturing services worth up to $250,000. Minnesota-based Protolabs supported Tozuda’s sensor redesign and manufacturing.

“We look to grant the award to inventors and entrepreneurs who not only want to build a profitable business model, but also affect the lives of others in a meaningful way,” said Protolabs Chief Marketing Officer Brian Peters in a statement.

V2 of the sensor. (Courtesy photo)

Tozuda founder and CEO Jessica Garcia calls the new sensor design “version two.” It works the same way as the original model, which the former rugby player began developing in 2016, but now there’s a new outer shell. With the support of Protolabs, the team was able to create a better-looking product that is more visible for athletes.

It also launched an online store last month, selling individual devices for $45.

“Protolabs was so easy to work with,” Garcia said. “Most important was their ability to work with liquid silicone to make Tozuda in the exact color and material we wanted.”

Protolabs used its on-demand molding services to make the sensor’s components and identify the most efficient manufacturing process. The assembly time dropped from over five minutes to one minute, Garcia said, and Tozuda was able to add 1,800 more units to its inventory.

Some of Tozuda’s new users include sled hockey and bobsled teams. One of its partners is the Royal Air Force bobsleigh team based in the United Kingdom. Garcia says coaches have reached out to the company directly about purchasing the sensor for their teams, and that it’s also common for parents to buy it for their children.

Garcia thinks people are more aware about the impacts of concussions now than ever before, but there is still more to learn about the brain and TBIs. The company will be working with partners to conduct more research on the correlation between impact levels and injuries — though the founder couldn’t disclose who those partners are — for the sake of raising awareness.

“I think in order for us to scale and get this into more people’s hands we have to really focus on partnerships,” Garcia said. “The more we learn the more we can put information out there.”

Garcia said she would like to see technology such as Tozuda become a required piece of equipment, and believes it’s only a matter of time before such tech is fully integrated into sports.

Next up, the founder is scheduled to attend SXSW with Philly Startup Leaders and other founders from underrepresented backgrounds. Garcia previously participated in Village Capital’s Pathways program, which gives companies with diverse founders access to mentorship, no-interest loans and grant funding, as well as NextFab’s RAPID Accelerator Program.

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, Technical.ly has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services
Engagement

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!

Trending

A local meetup group is using Amazon’s cybersecurity conference in Philly to raise money for tech nonprofits

Philly is ranked one of the world’s best places to found a startup, climbing to No. 25 globally

Coded by Kids drops ‘kids’ but keeps the focus on young people

This Week in Jobs: The kernel of a new career is in these 20 tech opportunities

Technically Media