Wiivv is in the business of making 3D printed custom gear with human comfort in mind, starting with the feet. Their custom arches are meant to allow active people to reach their potential without muscle strain. BASE is a 3D printed, customized insole which is made through a user friendly smartphone app. Meant to promote comfort, alignment, and prevent fatigue, these insoles can be designed in five minutes.
We’ve followed Wiivv throughout 2015 as they began developing their product and received their initial venture capital, as well as going on to complete their final round of seed funding, resulting in $3.5 million. Now, their flagship product, BASE, is on on Kickstarter, in hopes of raising $50,000 in the next month in their official consumer launch. Within a day of the launch, the campaign has already raised more than $20,000 from backers.
Led by co-founder and CEO Shamil Hargovan, the Wiivv team has been working on the BASE product over the last year. Those efforts results in 72 iterations before they came up with what they believe is the optimal biomechanical insole.
“Foot pain plagues at least 8 in 10 Americans–mostly caused by unsupportive shoes,” Hargovan told 3DPrint.com. “We want to disrupt the current custom orthotic and insole category that does not provide solutions for the masses and maximize comfort, promote alignment and solve foot fatigue–at an accessible pricepoint.”
And while many today are eager to jump on the 3D printing bandwagon due to the frenzied excitement over the technology which has really begun to infiltrate the mainstream, Hargovan stresses that it is only one facet of their product, and that ultimately–they are a bionics company, with insoles serving as only one of their product line, which will continue to evolve.
“3D technology is a key ingredient to enable us to mass customize body-perfect gear, but it is not the only ingredient. We use it where it makes sense,” Hargovan told 3DPrint.com. “Our products are made to fit the unique contours of a body part, but traditional manufacturing methods play a critical role in delivering on end products. Furthermore, materials innovation, increasingly fast printing engines, and 3D scanning technologies are feeding our ability to offer all this value at a mass customer price point.”
The team chose the BASE insole as their first consumer product–and a mobile-ready one–to help solve common foot pain, affordably. With the customization options available, it is more accessible and less expensive than a corrective orthotic prescribed by a specialist–and response to the product so far is very good by those who are knowledgeable.
“The orthotic industry is critical to sports medicine for the management of injury,” said Dr. Jack Taunton, M.D., Past Chief Medical Officer of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. “I am excited about Wiivv’s integration of 3D printing for the construction of orthotics to further advance the field.”
The magic of this patent-pending design is that it lessens pressure on the forefoot of the wearer, which the Wiivv team explains ensures biomechanical neutrality, increasing stability and allowing for healthy alignment. Because each person’s foot–and arch–are unique, the custom fit is able to offer proper support and reduce foot fatigue.
This is not just marketing hype, either. In a third party kinematic analysis, BASE custom insoles were found to “significantly reduce joint load of the knee and hip at 30 percent gait cycle,” according to Geoffrey Desmoulin, MSc, MS, PhD, President of GTD Engineering. “This may translate to reduced injuries and increase performance in activities requiring endurance.”
“Every foot is totally different. Off-the-shelf inserts cannot account for that,” said Christian Johannsen, Certified Pedorthist, Foot Solutions Vancouver. “Wiivv has taken this a step further with custom insoles that you can capture using a smart phone in your living room.”
The team has developed a suite of technologies with the ‘AdaptiveManufacturing System,’ which can be applied to any part of the human body. Using proprietary computer vision technologies, photos can be used to create a 3D model that is manufactured using 3D Systems SLS printers in Wiivv’s San Diego facility. The team does most definitely plan to expand their product lineup too, but for the moment are focused on the Kickstarter campaign and the BASE and BASERx produts.
“It’s super exciting what we have in the design and development phase at the moment. However, today we are ultra-focused on what we can do for people with BASE and BASERx by Wiivv,” Hargovan told 3DPrint.com. “There is a much larger Wiivv as a platform vision we are looking forward to revealing in the coming months and years to come. With KeepGoing as our mantra, we will continue to tend to the little details, do the hard things, and make the innovative strides necessary to make custom body-perfect gear accessible to the masses—which were once only reserved for people with good health insurance or elite athletes.”
The path to getting your BASE insoles is quick and easy, as all you need to do is download the Wiivv app, available only on iOS currently. This will be available to the first wave of backers, according to Wiivv, so that orders can be placed directly after the campaign is finished successfully.
“Inside the app, you’ll have a wide range of artsy colors, designs, and comfortable top sheets to choose from. Video walkthroughs will guide you through capturing two photos of each foot for the measurement step,” states the team on Kickstarter. “That’s all you’ll need to do! No expensive consultations with your local foot specialist, and no need to try on dozens of flimsy insoles at the pharmacy.”
Wiivv is making the insoles available to backers for as little as $50 for early birds (available to 500 backers), and then prices ascend to $60, with volume discounts beginning for two sets at $100. And while the price point is great, the team also has a fast and concise plan for following through on production and delivery.
“We are part of the on-demand economy, and want to deliver our product as such. We have spent the past year creating an adaptive manufacturing system that is capable of the full end to end foot measure to ship process,” Hargovan told 3DPrint.com. “We are proud to say that we are ready for our early adopters and will commence production, from our facility in San Diego, to our first wave of backers directly after our campaign closes in February.”
Each backer receives quite the deluxe package in the mail, receiving a custom pair of Wiivvs with the design options chosen inside the app, a usage guide, and a massage ball to relax the arch muscles. Using the insole is as easy as placing it on top of your shoe’s current insole and then pushing it back so it is neatly attached.
The funds raised on Kickstarter will allow the Wiivv team to complete manufacturing and fulfillment of the products, as well as keeping their promise to deliver all goods within three months of their campaign–with a true goal however in actually delivering all goods within three months. Let’s hear your thoughts on this new application for 3D printing in the Wiivv forum thread on 3DPB.com.
Wiivv is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and has an R&D and manufacturing facility in San Diego, California.
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