HJ/EDJune 5, 2006

Health care that moves with people

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

Health care can be a stressful, but Jeff Schoess, owner of Korosensor in Howard Lake, is hoping to take the worry off of people’s minds by placing treatment options directly on the body.

“Our mission statement is to develop body wearables technology,” Schoess said.

Schoess bought the building in 2004 on Hwy 12, next to the bank in Howard Lake, to house the business he started in 2000.

Korosensor is dedicated to sensor innovations for health care, and focuses on creating wearable designs, sensor, informatics, and bio-alerting.

Korosensor houses an electronic lab, biomechanics lab, and prototyping area.

Finite computer modeling software also enables the engineers to view 3-dimensional models of what they are working on, particularly skeletal structures.

It might sound complicated, but what Schoess is striving toward with his medical inventions is to make an easier and more reliable way for people to take care of themselves.

“Hopefully, it will lead to technology that will help you or I, especially as we get older,” Schoess said.

The work at Korosensor relies completely on grants from Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).

SBIR is a competitive program that encourages small businesses to work on high-tech innovation, which in turn, profit from commercialization of those innovations.

The latest project for Korosensor is going forward as part of a $800,000 grant.

The project is to devise a system to detect leakage in a colostomy (which is an incision into the colon to create an artificial opening for bodily waste to flow out of, usually to an attached bag).

The system would sense when the colostomy was leaking, or about to leak, alerting the person to take care of it, which would help ward off infection.

“It provides feedback to the patient,” Schoess said.

So far, this project is in phase one – the developing stage.

If all goes as planned, Schoess is hoping to be approved for a phase two grant, which will allow the product to be tested on patients throughout the metro area.

“It’s really hands on,” Schoess said.

Another example of the work Schoess is doing is a diabetic foot care wearable sensor.

The sensor would help diabetics more accurately monitor the pressure they put on their feet with a device in the sole of their shoes.

“Just having this information can be helpful,” Schoess said.

Diabetics can then use this to avoid common foot problems caused by increased pressure and walking problems associated with their disease.

No matter what the product, the goal is always the same at Korosensor – to make smart health care devices people can take with them.

Schoess comes into the industry with an electrical engineering degree and 18 years of experience at the Honeywell Technical Center conducting research.

The team at Korosensor is made up of Schoess, Matt Larson, and Matt Rust.

Larson was hired in January and is a mechanical engineer who graduated from South Dakota State University. Rust has been with the company for two years, since graduating from South Dakota State University with an electrical engineering degree.

Schoess is hoping on expanding in the future, and possibly adding a part-time employee.

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