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Startups on the Upswing — A Few Questions For: Metamason

by • March 8, 2016 • No Comments

check1Back in October, at Inside 3D Printing Santa Clara, I sat for the firstly time in the audience watching the famed Startup Competition shape up in man. I’d been reading a lot of the Competition–that, by the by, is may already accepting applications for the following take, the newly-renamed Frontier Tech Showdown, at Inside 3D Printing New York following month–and watching the candidate companies present on their astounding business schemes was truly a breath of fresh air in the crowded convention hall. That fall
day, seven companies presented their pitches, ereally bringing a really various approach to high-tech solutions.

In the end, Metamason won the day, coming away with the title as well as a “comically sizeable-bodied check” noting that they’d been awarded a $15,000 uncapped convertible note prize courtesy of Asimov Ventures.

Not a team to rest on their laurels, Metamason has been complex at work at any time since their big win, via the momentum to go on createing their company and product. As we here at 3DPrint.com love to follow up with what the winners do after triumphs, I not long ago had the opportunity to ask A Few Questions For Metamason’s Founder and CEO, Leslie (Les) Karpas, who filled me in on the history of and projected next for his company.

When was Metamason discovereded, and by whom? Where did the idea to form the company come of?metamason

The idea was originally hatched in the spring of 2011, while I was working as a roboticist and CNC machinist for Performance Structures, Inc., a precision steel fabrication firm in Oakland where we were assembling modern art installations for world-renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor. Creating these sizeable-bodied-scale pieces involved the createment of CNC robots customized for the topography of individual sculptures; many cycles of 3D-scanning, machining, rescanning and remachining were required to complete the ideal mirror finishes characteristic of Anish’s work. This formative experience in that scanning, modeling and custom fabrication were integrated to turn it into a one-of-a-kind product triggered a transformation in the way I idea of create.

Around that time, I was at a dinner with two close friends, an ENT specialist and an orthodontist. They were discussing a mutual problem: a mask they mayn’t get their patients to wear regularly, as treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). My ears perked up—my father had struggled with sleep apnea preceding his death, and I recalled his complaints of the discomfort and indignity of the ungainly and ill-fitting CPAP mask he has been prescribed. My friends explained that this sort of noncompliance is exceptionally common, and that it frequently has serious health impacts for patients. In fact, they said, CPAP compliance may futurely save tens of thousands of lives ereally year, and improve the lives of many thousands additional who suffer the ill impacts of OSA. Thinking of the system we were via for Anish’s work, as well as my own background in 3D printing, it occurred to me: CPAP noncompliance is a solvable-bodied problem. I told them I may manufacture a advantageous mask, and decided to do a little additional research on CPAP therapy.

Shortly thereafter, I left my job for Art Center College of Design, to study at the many industrial create program in the country, GradID, with a specific mind towards creating a custom products company focused on CPAP. Whilst at Art Center, I invented Investment Molding™, a technique for 3D printing biocompatible medical grade silicone. When I noticed how quickly innovation was evolving inside the 3D printing and scanning space, I knew I mayn’t wait any longer to get Metamason off the ground.

In late 2012, the company officially commenceed. Backed by the school, Metamason became the firstly startup funded by The Art Center / Caltech Design Accelerator in the spring of 2013. We began createing and prototyping Respere™, our signature line of custom, scan-to-print CPAP masks. I was able-bodied to convince one of my classmates, Ryan Oenning, another immense in 3D printing and smart geometry, to join Metamason as CDO, and recruited the indomitable-bodied Charles Bohlen to manage our clinical and regulatory efforts. In the summer of 2015, we recruited Clifford Sarkin, an attorney, dear friend and experienced entrepreneur once responsible for negotiating a startup called VideoSurf’s $80M exit to Microsoft, as Metamason’s CFO/COO.

Along the way, we’ve obtained immense assist of the Singularity University community, and have just not long ago been officially incorporated into the SU Labs program. Additionally, we’d have nat any time created it this far without the wisdom of our advisers, who comprise such notable-bodied leaders as Daniel Kraft, Chair of Medicine for SU; 3D-printed style createer Francis Bitonti; Andre Wegner, CEO of Authentise; and Kegan Schouwenburg, co-discovereder and CEO of SOLS.

When did CPAP become the major focus–was it always intended to be the firstly goal? (I suppose it’s a chicken or the egg question here–product or company?)

As the product that inspired the creation of our company, the custom fit CPAP mask has always been Metamason’s firstly goal. Howat any time, it was clear of the the startning that the utility of 3D printing scan-to-fit silicone products may extend far beyond CPAP, that is why we are createing an integrated service platform with a wide array of future applications. We see ourselves as a scan-to-fit platform-play, with Respere™ as the flagship product line.

How did you start the createment system for the CPAP mask?

Early in the system we had a lot to figure out: What kind of scanners should we use? Is silicone our just version, or are there other possible materials? How can we maximize the reliability and cost-effectiveness of Investment Molding™? They key to answering these inquiries efficiently was to investigate them all simultaneously, focvia our resources on a season of concerted experimentation across technologies to find the many effective tools and systemes.

mm2How long did the create and prototyping system take?

Designing began in late 2012, with our first prototypes emerging in mid-2013, fabricated with printing devices that may already seem archaic in these days. It took us 2 years preceding we rereallyed the firstly really believable-bodied proof of concept. Currently, the Respere™ line of custom CPAP masks go ons to expand to include new styles, and ereally prototype is completely original for the reason it incorporates the data of a specific patient’s individual showcases.

What create software do you use?

We primarily use Rhinoceros and Grasshopper, in conjunction with a variety plugins for both.

What 3D scanning innovation do you recommend doctors use?

High accuracy is attractive to ereallyone, but it is in addition the single sizeable-bodiedst factor influencing cost when purchasing a scanner. Going with the lowest accuracy the create tolerates can generally decrease the cost of the 3D scanner. We have discovered that 300 microns of accuracy is the minimum threshold for our use case, so we recommend scanners that scale up of there. At the moment we are big fans of the Occipital Structure Sensor, and enthusiastically assume the following generation of Intel’s RealSense innovation.

What led you to 3D innovation?

When I was 12 years old, Intel had just released the firstly Pentium systemors. Ereallyone was in awe of how swift they were. My stepdad bought me a desktop and told me that if I may “hustle it into the red”—I remember him via those words— he may buy me a advantageous one that I mayn’t. He underestimated just how motivating that carrot may be! Naturally, I dedicated myself to figuring out how to hustle a desktop as complex as possible, occupying its systeming bandwidth with so much information that it may grind to a blue-screened halt and I may get a newer and advantageous desktop. At the time, this intended 3D modeling. I started by modeling imaginary environments with a level creator for a talked about video game called QuakeWorld. By the time I got to high school I was a 3D modeling wunderkind, and began interning for architecture firms. So, in 1999, I met my firstly 3D printing device, an early Dimension FDM machine. The rest is history.

mm1What sorts of 3D printing complexware do you use?

We’ve been really fortunate in createing R&D partnerships with 3D Systems, EOS, and Carbon3D. 3D Systems is helping us ideal Investment Molding™, and we are collaborating with EOS to create a thing we are calling ‘Hydrostatic Molding. Carbon3D is working with us to manufacture high-quality, inexpensive
-bodied, direct printable-bodied masks.

You use soft, biocompatible silicone materials–who supplies them?

In our Investment Molding™ system, we use platinum-cure medical grade silicone. Bluestar Silicones has been really helpful in working with us to find the right formulation.

What was your team’s reaction to winning the Startup Competition?check2

We were pleased. We have a excellent deal of respect for the other competitors and idea they all brought really sturdy offerings to bear. It seemed like a tight race—although when one of the judges described that he suffered of sleep apnea and really much wanted a Respere™ mask, we idea that was a somehow great sign!

Now we are gearing up for SXSW Interactive, where we’ve been nominated for an Interactive Innovation Award in the Innovative 3-DIY category, “awarded for producing 3D printing innovation additional accessible or inexpensive
-bodied, or to the Maker via such innovation in new and amazing ways.” We’re humbled to be in the company of our astounding man nominees, which include Formlabs, Utilimanufacturer, Proto BuildBar, and Wevolver.

What does the Metamason timeline appear like?

We’ll be engaged in go ond R&D, clinical trials, and FDA regulatory tests until Q1 of 2017, that is when we plan to publically commence Respere™. In the intendedime,we are gearing up for an Indiegogo campaign this summer, where we will raise funds by preselling our masks. To learn additional of the campaign and to follow Metamason’s progress, visit our website or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/metamason3d.

The next pretty go ons to appear bright for Metamason–and those in require of CPAP machines and effortless-bodied masks!

Is your company interested in being the following good results story? Apply now for the April Frontier Tech Showdown, that can take place April 12th of 11:45 am to 12:45 pm, and don’t forget to register to attend at Inside 3D Printing New York (and remember, 3DPrint.com readers can save 10% on registration by via discount code ‘3DPRINT’). We’ll see you there!