Teacher. Dr. Kai Oberländer, Co-Founder and CEO of Motesque – Interview Series

Prof. Dr. Kai Oberländer is the co-founder and CEO of Motesque. Motesque’s vision is to revolutionize the world of human movement by creating and developing pioneering technology to transform human movement into healthcare, e-commerce and retail solutions. They want to keep people healthy for as long as possible and improve their quality of life through biomechanical solutions.

How did you get into the field of biomechanics?

At the end of the 2000s, I studied Mathematics and Sports Science, and by combining these subjects I found my passion. It fascinated me that the joints allow the segments attached to them to move along circular paths. However, human locomotion itself is more of a linear motion. So I started reading a book by a leading authority in the field of biomechanics, Robert McNeill Alexander, on locomotion, and it led me to biomechanics.

Could you discuss the history of the genesis of Motesque?

I moved to Cologne to start my doctorate in knee health after ACL reconstruction. Working with internationally renowned colleagues, I have been positively influenced by looking at human locomotion from a human perspective rather than a mathematical one. However, in this orthopedic environment, it is difficult to predict the outcome of surgery. It is difficult to objectively judge whether you will be able to resume sports or whether you will need an orthosis during the recovery process. But that didn’t exist at the time. So we started to develop IMU sensor technology that makes it easier to decide whether you can move effectively in everyday life and do sports again. And that was the start of Motesque.

Why is motion data the ‘new gold’ in healthcare and AI technology?

AI generally feeds on data. The more the better. Especially in healthcare technology, motion data combined with AI opens up possibilities that have never been before. The good thing for patients is that this data is obtained using non-invasive methods. They allow an accurate diagnosis of health problems. At Motesque, we are able to capture movement data and turn it into personalized recommendations that help assess health care and sports situations. These judgments, based on individual data, are valuable because they help patients walk, run and exercise in healthier ways to avoid or recover from injury.

How do locomotive characteristics help predict the future of a person’s health?

The first step is the diagnosis of locomotion characteristics with sophisticated methods. If a person’s movement characteristics are at a certain level, we can predict in which direction it will develop. For example, if he has stage 3 osteoarthritis of the knee, it is very likely that he will suffer from more severe wear and tear on the knee joint in the future. For data analysis, evaluation and finally recommendation of the right product, we need a lot of data, math and a good understanding of biomechanics.

What are the different types of machine learning algorithms that are used?

With products such as our 3D avatar technology, we use computer vision, including classic and modern deep learning techniques. We use RNNs for our sequential data, as well as regression analysis. Optimization techniques such as gradient descent are used for parameter tuning and complex numerical simulations. For Big Data, we use clustering techniques and regression analysis to better understand the products and make recommendations.

Could you discuss how the recommendations for orthotics and prosthetics are made?

We have developed a mobile gait analysis system to help each individual find the most suitable orthosis and prosthesis. IMU sensors can be easily attached to the patient’s body. These sensors capture motion data that provides objective information about footprint, body center of gravity, joint angles and other parameters. All data is then analyzed by biomechanical models and algorithms to ensure the best individual recommendation.

Could you explain how this technology is used with running shoes?

While the client is running on a treadmill, high-tech sensors are attached to the client’s body and shoes that capture highly accurate and reliable data on gait and posture. A preselection of shoes is then analyzed and compared based on the client’s running style. The shoe with the best features, which meets the needs and running style of the customer, is recommended.

Another sport that this app is used in is cycling, can you provide details about it?

This is an application that we have developed mainly for the e-commerce sector. It also provides individual fit recommendations, but since it is used online, we create a 3D avatar based on body size and proportions that virtually tests products such as bikes in the online store. In seconds, this solution recommends the best product for each consumer. We recently announced that SIGNA Sports United, the leading sports technology and e-commerce platform, and Motesque, have entered into a strategic partnership. Together, we are launching the very first Biomechanical AI-based Virtual Bike Fitting Motor for online bike shopping. Our bike solution uses the 3D avatar to help select the best frame size and configuration for body proportions and sitting position.

How does Motesque help improve sleep by recommending mattresses?

Unlike decision tree-based recommendations that measure height, weight and sleeping position, our visionary AI-based biomechanical technology combines personal data and images of each client, creating a three-dimensional avatar of our clients who interact with different mattresses through our physics and biomechanical engine.

Taking into account several parameters, our software identifies the curvature of the spine to the side, the maximum depression depth, the inclination of the torso, etc. In the end, the consumer gets the recommendation of the mattress that best matches their anatomical characteristics and sleeping behavior.

Is there anything else you would like to share on Motesque?

We believe that our science-based solutions that match individual product recommendations will become the future way to meet the needs of individuals. As a global company, we are already well positioned to continue to innovate on this path in order to offer all end customers or patients a complete solution to prevent injuries and improve their overall health.

Thanks for a great interview, readers who want to know more should visit Motesque.

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