The most interesting aspect of any venture of any type, be it a technology startup or a social entrepreneurship, is the heart and soul of it all, what made it come to pass and why. With B-Shoe it was getting up close and personal with the issue of falls and their consequences among the elderly.
You see, the story of B-Shoe is not a story about shoes, or even about the reinvention of shoes. It is a story about love and care and ingenuity.
When Dr. Yonatan Manor’s father began to lose balance and fall at the ripe age of over 80, he at first thought little of it, relating it to age, which was probably true. His wife, however, knowing his innovative nature and researcher’s mind, teased him to “do something to prevent him from falling”. At first he thought there is nothing to be done. After all, elderly people tend to fall and so far no solution has been invented yet. Sure there are the ages old preventive measures such as four legged walkers and canes. Some attempts have even been made to create alarm systems that can detect a fall when it happens and even alert the doctor’s office or a relative, to let them know the senior had fallen. But fall prevention? Other than exercise and physical therapy there is nothing out there that seems to prevent falls.
Being a researcher, though, Yonatan had that little voice in his head that kept nudging him “do something!” And so he finally did!
He began by watching his father walk, stand up, sit down and occasionally lose balance. He then observed other elderly people and noticed recurring patterns in their falls. He studied the literature and medical research and learned all about the bio-mechanics of the human body, about balance maintenance and balance disorder. He learned all about the center of gravity, base of support and the backward step which healthy and younger people take to regain balance, and which older people fail to take or take too late due to degraded sensing and slow reflexes.
Armed with the information he needed, Yonatan realized that since his father could not take the backward step in time, he needed to find a way to take that step for him. This is when teamed up with his longtime friends and colleagues, Abraham and Aharon (Arale), both engineers with impressive track records of their own, and together they “reinvented the shoe”, bringing B-Shoe to life!