CALI: Calibrate Your Balance

Founder: Quinn Edgecombe

Interviewer: Alfred Cervantes

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Quinn Edgecombe, Founder of CALI: Calibrate Your Balance

1. What are your hobbies?

Quinn: I play guitar, sing, and I do a lot of service work. This past weekend I went to Port Mansfield (a small fisherman’s town)and helped clean up the garbage on the beaches. In college I was in a couple different service organizations like the Bonner Leaders Program, Rotary and Rotaract.

2. What did you study in college?

Quinn: Industrial Design. It’s the study of how manufactured products are made. It’s similar to product design, but in industrial design, we think about how the product will work for the user and how it can be manufactured. What makes the program at the University of Houston so different is that we don’t just say “This is what my product is! and Here’s a render of it!” We actually physically make every product we design, and we try to make them as functional as possible.

3. How did you come up with CALI?

Quinn: Well CALI was one of my studio projects during my Junior year. While I was working on Cali, I had 2 to 3 other projects going on. CALI was just a 6 week project, so a week of research, a week of design, and 4 weeks full of pure prototyping and presentation.

4. Why did you choose CALI over any of your other projects?

Quinn: CALI just had a lot of traction so it was kind of a no-brainer. My professor loved it and told us “This is something big, you should pursue it”, so my partner and I developed our business plan and all of our written work and began applying to competitions for industrial design and wearable technologies. We ended up going to Reshape 18 in Barcelona last October to present CALI to Industrial Design professionals from all over the world. Because it was a UH project, I received funding from the College of Architecture and the Honor’s College to go for free. We competed against professionals from all over the world who have been working on their product for years and were all well funded. Meanwhile, we had a first-level prototype. We ended up receiving an honorable mention and winning fourth place. The win gave us a lot of confidence to keep moving forward with CALI. All in all, it was just a magical experience.

5. What does CALI do? How does it work?

Quinn: CALI is a wearable device that helps you calibrate your balance. It aids in doing therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises for those suffering from vestibular based vertigo. It is a very common condition in elderly people that causes them to lose their balance, very dangerous and sometimes fatal situations. Statistics show that 80% of people over the age of 65 experience vertigo, and 50% of those are from a vestibular issue. There are exercises you can do to strengthen your balance, but they require a physical therapist to make sure you’re doing the exercises properly, and the majority of people don’t have access to physical therapy. CALI instructs you on what exercises to do through bone conducting speakers and uses an accelerometer to help you properly do the exercise, with positive and negative feedback signals. And CALI helps rehabilitate people independently and in the comfort of their own homes.

6. Favorite song right now?

Quinn: 40 day dream- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

7. What goals do you hope to accomplish by summer’s end?

Quinn: Developing a market ready prototype and defining who my prospective customer is. I also want to develop relationships with physical therapists around the city so they can mentor me on how to improve CALI and what it really takes to rehabilitate people with vertigo. I definitely want to get a provisional patent on the technology, and by the end of summer start working on the full patent paperwork.

8. What motivates you?

Quinn: People. My first day at RED Labs I met with Steve Wilbur, and he broke down all of my overall goals into weekly, bite sized chunks, and now I have a list of tasks to complete and how they tie into my goals, and I have a plan on how we’re going to accomplish them. People and the ability to collaborate definitely motivates me. But also taking time to celebrate the day-to-day wins and tracking my progress through this journey is very motivating as well.

9. Who are your role models?

Quinn: My favorite company right now is Monica Kang’s Innovator’s Box, and I saw her as the keynote speaker at a conference last summer. She’s truly amazing; she has a deck of cards she gives out and each card is an idea on how to spread creativity in the workplace or an organization, and I just respect a lot of her ideals. Another role model is EunSook Kwon who’s the director of the industrial design program at UH. She grew up in Korea. When we went to visit the country with her, everyone wanted to shake her hand and talk to her. She built the industrial design program at UH from the ground up. She’s just a great person, spreading these opportunities to students like me. But my greatest role model, by far, is my mom.

Follow RED Labs on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with Quinn and CALI as they take-down vertigo, as well as many other Houston entrepreneurs’ journeys as they change the world every day

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