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The XT9 Air will take you places like no other.

The XT9 Air is the most advanced energy storing prosthetic knee available on the market, allowing above knee (AK) amputees the ability to telemark ski, wake board, rock climb, and many other activities that they have been unable to do on conventional prosthetic equipment.

The XT9 Air will be one of the featured products at the 8th Annual DaVinci Inventor Showcase. Recently inventor Jarem Frye took a moment to tell us more about his amazing invention…

What was the defining moment that led you to create this product? What problem does it solve?
Inventor Jarem Frye sought to become the world’s first amputee telemark skier. After months of struggling to do so effectively with his common prosthetic, the idea of using spring tension in his knee to mimic the quadriceps came while Frye was riding a high speed ski lift, staring at the detachable clamp mechanism. The use of a spring in the knee allows above the knee amputees to participate in high impact sports (such as skiing, wake boarding, rock climbing, etc.) that were impossible before.

After you came up with the idea, how did you size up the market and decide who your customers would be?
The idea and use was so unique that there was an entire market of one, the inventor himself. By uploading photos and video online of what Frye was able to do with his invention, other amputees began to gain a greater belief of what was possible for an amputee and have caught hold of the vision. Amputees began to purchase the knee directly, then prosthetists began receiving requests from amputees and making the purchase directly. The market basically consists of any above knee amputee in the world that wants to maintain a highly active lifestyle.

How did you go about naming your product?
The original XT9 was given a name that we hoped would appeal to outdoors and extreme sports enthusiasts to help amputees move away from the stale confines of current prosthetic technologies. It worked and we’re sticking with it as the icon it has become by keeping “XT9” in the new model name, but adding the “air” to signify a new and improved model named the XT9air. Plus, it sounds like you’re calling from a walkie-talkie!

How long did it take you to create you initial prototype, and what problems did you run into along the way?
Frye played with the concept on paper and by adapting old prosthetic knee with valve springs and hardware parts for several months. The first prototype made from scratch was built in a week and used by Frye for three years of hard testing before another model was made.

Funding a new idea is always tricky. How did you go about lining up the money you needed?
Frye took his entire inheritance left by his grandfather ($13,000). He used $3000 to live on and invested the other $10,000 in manufacturing and travel to the world’s first eXtremity Games where he earned an additional $5000 by winning the rock climbing championship using his design.

Is this a product you’d like to produce and sell yourself, or are you wanting to license it to someone else? And if so, who?
K12 Prosthetics is Jarem’s company and the distributor of this product. We have done over $1M in sales of the XT9air’s predecessor, the XT9, and plan to do much more ourselves with the XT9 air now that we are joining forces with the guys at Citius Composites.

What all channels are you using to market your product?
To date we have not done any print ads. Our website, word of mouth and public interest articles have been our driving exposures.

How many people do you currently have involved in your business?
We have six individuals directly working on K12 Prosthetics and many shops and venders that we outsource work to in the United States.

How do you define success?
My goal is to revolutionize the world of prosthetics! Thanks to the XT9, snowboarding has just been accepted into the Paralympics. The XT9air recently made history by allowing me to be part of the first all amputee team to climb El Capitan. If I never made another dime I would feel like I had still hit it out of the park, if I make millions, I’ll build a much bigger park for amputees!

Where do people go to find out more about your product?