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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.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
A lawmaker wants to know if the Pentagon ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with bioweapons
If you've ever wondered if the Pentagon has ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with biological weapons, you're not alone.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) authored an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to find out if the U.S. military experimented with using ticks and other insects as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."
The Taliban drove his family out of Afghanistan when he was a child. Now he wants to go back as a Marine
There's no one path to military service. For some, it's a lifelong goal, for others, it's a choice made in an instant.
For 27-year-old Marine Pvt. Atiqullah Assadi, who graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp on July 12, the decision to enlist was the culmination of a journey that began when he and his family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan.
The Air Force has administratively separated the Nellis Air Force Base sergeant who was investigated for making racist comments about her subordinates in a video that went viral last year, Task & Purpose has learned.