Kelly Collier of ActivAided Orthotics-Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kelly Collier of ActivAided Orthotics

Kelly Collier -- a 2011 graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University with a degree in material and biomedical engineering and a minor in business, who also happens to be a triathlete -- has personal experience with back pain. Sometimes it was so bad that she could hardly sit through her classes.

For Collier, that struggle was the mother of invention. As part of her senior project, the Pittsburgh native helped create a product that enables patients overcome back pain in an entirely new way. That product eventually became a company.

An Innovation Works portfolio company and graduate of its AlphaLab accelerator program, ActivAided Orthotics distributes the device -- a lightweight shirt with components that help patients use their own muscles to improve posture -- to orthopedic physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors to prescribe, and also allows individuals to order it through the company website.

And Collier, who uses her own product, no longer has back pain.

What was the inspiration behind ActivAided Orthotics?

When I was a senior at CMU, part of our biomedical engineering curriculum was to do a year-long course in which we had to engineer and build something of our choosing that was relevant and useful for the medical world.

My group of randomly assigned classmates and I realized we all had a common interest -- or pain point. The majority of us had suffered from back pain sometime in our lives...from our sports and activities. So, we decided that's what we wanted to work on -- something that could help young active people like ourselves who are experiencing debilitating, activity-limiting back pain...Read more»

By: Susan L. Pena,