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Smart Skin Technologies Finalizing Quantifeel Launch

A native of Sri Lanka, Thillainadarajah started Smart Skin in 2008 with the idea of pioneering a pressure-sensitive skin that could serve as a second touchpad on a smartphone. In 2011, the company realized its best path to market would be a product for golf — moulding the pressure-sensitive skin into a golf grip to monitor the golfer’s grip on the club through the entire swing. The team originally planned for a training product, but as they talked to people in the golf industry, they focused more on a product that helps golfers choose the right club.

“As we built it out, we realized that all the money in golf is in fitting, not training,” said Thillainadarajah. “The challenge was that in fitting, no one cared about grip because it was impossible to measure grip pressure. People take an hour on fitting for the right club, on things like shaft length and club head. They spend a minute on grip.”

Thillainadarajah said the challenge is to educate the market and let players, coaches and retailers know the importance of the grip in a golf swing and the new-found ability to measure it. What he’s got in his favour is that golfers are always on the lookout for the next technological advance, so the product could spread quickly.

Smart Skin is still working on the golf training product, which will allow golfers to measure their grip on the course, assess it on a device or at home on their PC and share the readings with their coaches. What’s more, once the golf products are out, Smart Skin hopes to launch similar products in sports like baseball and hockey — any sport in which manual grip determines success.

Smart Skin has been working with UNB’s Institute for Biomedical Engineering, which Thillainadarajah says is one of the world`s top facilities for prosthetics.

He added that the company is developing other products using the pressure-sensitive skin, and could make announcements on them late this year.

The company, whose workforce has grown to 10 from four in 16 months, launched a campaign two weeks ago to raise $1.5 million from angels and venture capital funds. In the first six days, existing angels from New Brunswick committed to invest $500,000. Thillainadarajah said he is now in talks with venture capital funds about investing in the company, and he could exceed the $1.5-million target.