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This MARSOC Vet Is Creating The First Smart Catheter For People Impacted By Paralysis
For 31-year-old Marine veteran Derek Herrera, the decision to start his own company in June was motivated by a desire to see scientific advancement put to practical use. The company, called Spinal Singularity Inc., is a medical engineering firm that designs medical devices to improve quality of life for people, like Herrera, who are paralyzed due to spinal cord injuries or disease.
Herrera was shot in 2012, while serving as an active-duty captain with a Marine Special Operations Command team in Afghanistan. Though still paralyzed from the chest down, Herrera spent the next two years relearning how to walk with the help of an ExoSkeleton, which he wore to receive the Bronze Star medal for valor during his retirement ceremony in November 2014.
Captain Derek Herrera, a special operations officer with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, renders a salute as the national anthem is played during a retirement ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 21.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ricardo HurtadoAs Herrera began his rehabilitation process, he says he initially placed a lot of stock and faith in academia, because he felt that universities and research centers were the mostly likely place for innovative technology to emerge.
However, Herrera came to realize that the medical and scientific fields were often more focused on advancements in science rather than advancements in a person’s quality of life. As he made his way through the rehabilitation process, Herrera took stock of the challenges he faced, seeing not just obstacles, but opportunities for improvement.
Image courtesy of Spinal Singularity
Which explains Herrera’s decision to go into business for himself. It was a way to improve not just his customer’s quality of life, but also his own.
Herrera chose to focus on neurogenic bladder, which is the inability to sense the fullness of one's bladder and control it, because there is little innovation related to this problem, even though it poses a daily challenge for those dealing with it.
The company’s first product, which is still in the prototype phase, is called the Connected Catheter and allows users to empty their bladders without having to insert intermittent catheters, which are used and discarded afterward. The Connected Catheter could be used for up to a month, and would replace as many as 200 intermittent catheters in that period of time.
A standard catheter is little more than a tube and a nozzle that must be inserted into the urethra five to 10 times a day. By contrast, the Connected Catheter can stay in the body and allows a user to empty his or her bladder with relative ease. It can also tell a patient or clinician when a user’s bladder is full by wirelessly relaying pressure data to an external device.
“I saw firsthand what some of these problems were and how they affected my quality of life,” said Herrera on why he founded Spinal Singularity. “I’m designing a product for myself, but on the same token there are millions of people who will benefit from this program too.”
Herrera hopes to have the first prototype completed by the end of this month.
Watch Spinal Singularity’s awareness video or visit the crowdfunding page to learn how you can support Derek’s efforts.
U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.
The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
Military families are suing their private housing provider over 'rampant mold infestation' at Fort Meade
Ten military families are taking their privatized housing provider, Corvias, to court over "appalling housing conditions and cavalier treatment" at Fort Meade in Maryland, according to a new lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed on Tuesday by law firm Covington & Burling —which is handling the lawsuit pro bono, according to their press release — details "distressingly similar stories of poorly maintained infrastructure leading to serious problems, such as mold growing on walls, windows, and pipes," at the the installation.
The lawsuit was first reported by the Washington Post. The defendants identified include Corvias Management-Army LLC and Meade Communities, LLC, which is a part of Corvias.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Democratic and Republican lawmakers presented dueling narratives on Wednesday as a U.S. congressional impeachment inquiry that threatens Donald Trump's tumultuous presidency entered a crucial new phase with the first televised public hearing.
The drama unfolded in a hearing of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in which two career U.S. diplomats - William Taylor and George Kent - voiced alarm over the Republican president and those around him pressuring Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit Trump politically.
A system that intercepts enemy rockets and a brand-new munition? Tank you very much.
The Navy is looking into the possibility of sending explosive ordnance disposal units on shorter and possibly more frequent deployments, service officials said on Wednesday.
Right now, EOD techs train for 18 months and deploy for another six months as part of their optimized fleet response plan, but the Navy is conducting a review of that training and deployment cycle, Navy officials told reporters.
A Navy analysis is looking at whether EOD techs should spend a total of 32 or 36 months training and deployed per cycle, said Capt. Oscar Rojas, who leads Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1 in San Diego.