Meet the iTOM-CAT™ Developer
Nathan Yoder, Director of Research & Development, graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. He started his career at Lucent Technologies as an engineer. In 2003, Nathan joined SOLO Laboratories and during his tenure, he received his Masters of Science in Physics from Lehigh University.
Q: What inspired your thinking about scanning as an alternative to casting and foam boxes?
SOLO Labs CEO, Barry Sokol, wanted it developed. We liked the idea because it eliminated inbound shipping and eliminated the need to dispose of the casts and foam boxes.
Q: Other companies attempted to build scanners. How were SOLO Labs effort different?
There were very few scanners available, at the time, that provided accurate results and were easy to use. The others could not provide a visual picture overlay of the foot onto the point cloud. A point cloud without that visual overlay doesn’t give nearly as much scope as one that does.
Q: Tell us about SOLO Labs first prototype.
It originated in my home office with a ghastly interface that would send any potential user running. The first number of scans were intriguing but inconsistent. I was uncertain if it would work. After establishing a statistical model, consistency improved and I was encouraged to continue.
Q: You also developed correction software. Why was that important?
Correction software takes the scanned image and allows the user to shape the custom orthotic to the scan and make any additions or corrections the customer requires. Understanding what SOLO Labs needed to make a good orthotic, helped me in developing the software. A good orthotic starts with a good scan.
Q: Once you developed the technology, you did something nearly unheard of in the technology world-- you shared it with others. Why?
Allowing other businesses to use the technology provides valuable feedback to SOLO Labs to improve our products and services. By keeping the cost low for others, it allows them to use the technology at a fraction of the cost of having to develop the same technology themselves. By working together, we develop a better outcome for the patient. For SOLO Labs, our mission is Serve Others, Love Others. Through our research and development efforts we continue to live that mission.
Q: For those who are afraid or get frustrated with technology, what is your advice.
Try it. If you can use a cell phone or iPad, you can scan. It’s fast, easy and a very short learning curve to use it.