Millions of viewers tuned into the Super Bowl this week - and very soon they could be watching players equipped with a special new piece of kit, invented by a Jersey entrepreneur.
The innovative communications device was originally made for snowboarders - but it has now attracted an avalanche of new admirers at a sports firm start-up contest in the US. Stephen Catterson came up with the idea for Linkpro, a helmet that allows people to communicate and listen to music while hurtling down the piste, back in 2013.
During the past few years he has been travelling the world to find collaborators to bring the device to market, and en route he’s found it’s not just snow sport enthusiasts that appreciate the innovation of his idea.
When NFL professionals learned of his invention, which combines FM/smart phone technology with safety – and this being the achingly cool sport of snowboarding – they invited him to pitch at the National Football League’s 1st and Future event in Huston, Texas. There he beat off competition from 200 entries to make the finals.
With a judging panel made up of NFL team owners and executives, players and top medical professionals, specialising in spinal injuries, the contest is aimed at showcasing the best start ups in the field of sport technology and athlete safety.
Linkpro was one of the three finalists in the Communicating with the Athlete section, a section focusing on new technologies that will improve safe means of communication between a football coach on the sidelines or in the coaches’ booth and a designated player on the field.
Mr Catterson said the competition highlighted the potential for his invention.
“Whilst our primary focus remains on the Explore1 snow sports helmet and finalising the product to launch to market very soon, this was an incredible opportunity we simply couldn’t turn down,” he said afterwards. “Despite not winning on the day, that really didn’t matter as the experience itself was unbelievable and I got to meet some amazing entrepreneurs and industry professionals who seemed really positive about the technology and work we are doing at Linkpro. The future for Linkpro is really exciting and this sort of event highlights how our patented technology can be adapted to improve communication across a number of different areas.”
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