Stop Freezing, Start Walking
U-Step has officially launched its newest product: LaserCue. We are honored to have worked in conjunction with Michael J. Fox on this project and can’t wait to share this incredible story.
I take great pride in running a business that is committed to improving products based on customer feedback. I do this by listening to my customers and taking the time to understand each of their individual needs. Besides providing me with challenges to keep my day-to-day life interesting, this business model has allowed me to expand my product line and improve my products in ways that I couldn’t have conceived of on my own.
About two years ago, we were contacted by an assistant to Michael J. Fox that he enjoyed using one of our products, the LaserCane, but he had some ideas for the product and wanted to know if we were open to speaking with him about it. I found this to be a welcome surprise because I was a big fan and I am always up to hearing new ideas on the types of products I develop. As we spoke on the phone he expressed that he wanted to use our laser cueing technology on a different type of cane or walking stick. This was easier said than done. With the help of my electrical engineer, we figured out a way of making a laser cueing module that could attach to almost any cane! This would not only fulfill Mr. Fox’s needs but many other people in the Parkinson’s community.
As I alluded to above, this new product was technologically challenging. The LaserCane was designed almost 20 years ago and uses basic wiring and electrical switches to operate. To create a module that attaches to all types of canes required a different approach. For many years I have worked closely with Phil Gesotti, an electrical engineer who also has Parkinson’s. I explained to him my design challenge and he, through using a circuit board with various sensors, could approximate the function of the LaserCane. Phil went to work on a prototype of the circuit board and on his first try he got very close to the circuit board we are using in the production of the LaserCue. One hurdle over, many more to go! The holder for the circuit board, batteries and laser needed to be designed in such as was that was easy to install, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to change the batteries. It was also very important to me that the final product not only work well but would be something Michael J. Fox would appreciate. Having met him, I was as impressed with his character as I was in his acting skills.
Launching a new product is just as exciting as it is exhausting. I have spent the last year traveling back and forth to the manufacturers making sure each piece of the LaserCue is up to my standards. I am very proud to say that the LaserCue is finally ready for use and will be available for purchase next month.
Michael J. Fox said, “The LaserCue is a breakthrough product for Parkinson’s patients with freezing issues. Producing a laser line that motivates you to step up and over and thus regain the rhythm of your stride. It also helps in the dark when footing is uncertain. I use it often and it always works great. Jonathan Miller at U-Step developed this invaluable resource for patients with PD and other movement disorders and allowed me to contribute my thoughts and ideas along the way. I really think that this product could change and possibly even save lives.”
It’s always an honor to work on improving our line of products with our customers, and this is particularly true for this revered actor who has done so much through his Michael J. Fox Foundation to create community and work towards a cure for Parkinson’s.
A portion of the proceeds from every LaserCue purchase will be donated to the Foundation, supporting their tremendous work. U-Step has helped over 30,000 people with Parkinson’s regain mobility and independence. I hope the LaserCue will continue to help my clients live safer and more active lives.