Hillel's Tech Corner: Tel Aviv start-up taking tech one step further

Imagine losing the ability to walk. A skill you learned when you were a baby now suddenly becomes foreign to you.

OneStep (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Allow me to begin with a personal story. Many months ago, I was at dinner with close friends who were visiting from the States. As our waiter was bringing over the main course, I received a phone call from my younger brother. He called to tell me that my mother had been hit by a motorcycle and that she was in the hospital.
That happened in September 2019, and this week, in February 2020, my mom notified us that the wound is closed and healed. She is able to walk, but she still has a way to go until full recovery. That is the good news, and don’t get me wrong, it is very good news.
The bad news is, the process was long, painful and stressful (not only for my mom, but also for my dad and the entire family) and if you think about it, mostly unnecessary. I don’t mean to say that my mother could have healed without seeing her doctor, taking medication, or bandaging the wound properly. I am saying that the process from sustaining an injury that prevents you from walking all the way to 100% capacity is too long, too manual, and is completely void of any sort of technology that will expedite the process.
Meet , a Tel Aviv-based start-up that assists people through physical recovery with the goal of improving the quality of life and reducing healthcare costs.
Imagine losing the ability to walk. A skill you learned when you were a baby now suddenly becomes foreign to you. Whether it was caused by a stroke, a crash, or another unfortunate accident, you are now challenged with relearning how to walk in order to get your life back.
A patient like this might get some help from a physical therapist, but generally patients only meet with physical therapist for an hour one or two times a week. During that hour, patients get the feedback and encouragement they need to continue learning. But what about the other 166 hours?
This is one of the main challenges in gait rehabilitation today. Patients are left in the dark 99% of the time, with no way to measure progress, get feedback, or feel like they are improving. Additionally, the physical therapists rarely have any idea what goes on in the lives of their patients outside of therapy. The result is slow progress, loss of hope, and limited access to care. This is the hugely important challenge that OneStep is taking on.
Starting with the smartphone and expanding to an array of sensors around us, OneStep uses everyday sensors to provide ongoing health diagnostics, and offers continuous progress feedback and a direct connection to a therapist. Their artificial intelligence-powered mobile software platform continuously detects and analyzes gait through a smartphone’s sensors, whether it is in your pocket, hand, or in your backpack. It can tell you your stride length, hip range, step rate and more. Fifteen gait parameters in total are analyzed! To date, OneStep users have taken over one million steps.
ONESTEP’S PROPRIETARY technology helps physical therapists supervise at-home activity, prescribe exercises, and generally allows them to see the full picture of their patients’ progress. But what therapists love the most about the product is that it allows them to quantify progress and show proven results to their patients.
Patients using the application have access to feedback, reports on their improvements, and a direct method to contact their therapist. No more waiting until your next appointment. My mother literally spent the past year waiting for her Sunday appointment in order to know if she was making any progress. With OneStep, there’s no more being in the dark all week. OneStep basically extends therapy beyond the clinic walls.
Additionally, OneStep was built to assist not only patients who have therapists, but also patients who might not have access to their own therapist. Through the application, they can be connected to a OneStep therapist who can provide feedback and rehabilitation support using the application’s features.
OneStep was founded by three IDF Talpiot program graduates and one serial entrepreneur. In their elite military role, OneStep’s founders became experts on technology, physics, cellphone data and more. When they completed their service, they were determined to use their expertise for good. One week in 2018, they read several news stories about tragic deaths which they determined could have been avoided if the victims’ smartphones had been able to help.
The OneStep founding team concluded that since we all use smartphones so often, and because their processing capabilities and computational power have become so strong, these devices can and should monitor health continuously, without requiring patients to change their behavior or buy a dedicated device. Thus, OneStep was born.
CEO Tomer Shussman says, “We all know that smart devices and the array of new sensors around us are changing the world. It is time that they affect healthcare too. We’re part of a wave of companies that turn smart devices into health diagnostics, and we are proud to pioneer the concept of ongoing monitoring. Providing patients with feedback 24/7 has a fundamental impact on their recovery and motivation. Looking further down the road, I imagine the day when smartphone diagnostics will also save lives.”
Today, OneStep is distributed among physical therapists and clinics in Israel, and the company has plans to soon expand to the US market. Their team of 10, based in Tel Aviv, works day in and day out with the very tangible goal of getting people back on their feet, step by step. The company has attracted the attention of leading investors. You will be hearing more about that soon.
This past weekend, my parents spent the weekend with us, so I had the chance to speak to my mother about OneStep. She made it very clear that such a solution would have greatly enhanced the healing process and her road to full recovery. Receiving ongoing feedback about her progress, she told me, would have been tremendously valuable and made the whole process more emotionally tolerable.
We are surrounded by cutting-edge technology, the likes of which we would never have imagined possible just one decade ago. Along with entertainment, work and media, there is no reason why these incredible devices should not be used to enhance and even save lives. They can and they should. Now they are.