At Martin Bionics, an innovatorís work is never complete

Published: Friday, March 19, 2021 By: Journal Record Staff Source: The Journal Record

Oklahoma City inventor and entrepreneur Jay Martin stressed that idea during a recent “Innovate That” podcast hosted by Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

The founder of Oklahoma City-based Martin Bionics, Martin created the Socket-Less Socket for wearers of artificial limbs. It eventually earned recognition from Time Magazine as one of the “Best Inventions of 2020.”

Despite that, Martin said he and his team of engineers at Martin Bionics have continued to innovate.

“We are always innovating; we are always creating the next generation of innovation and design,” Martin commented on the podcast, which was presented by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. “Innovation should never be static. “We’re already working through the next generation of our own technology.”

Martin describes himself as a lifelong innovator, going back even to elementary school. He discovered prosthetics while working on a senior project in high school, but the idea for the Socket-Less Socket originated during his three-year tenure as a NASA design engineer. He was part of a team that designed Iron Man-type suits to provide extra strength for wearers.

His NASA experience inspired Martin to tackle a problem that often plagues people who rely on prosthetics for mobility and dexterity.

“Even the most advanced convention prosthetics today are a rigid, static hard shell, maybe a little give around the edge, but they are incredibly uncomfortable for a majority of amputees,” he said. “Our technology literally fits like a pair of sneakers, very conforming, very dynamic, adjustable, and very comfortable. It has really changed the quality of life for amputees around the world.”

Martin attributed much of his success to OCAST and the support it provides Oklahoma innovators through its grant programs. He has been connected to eight OCAST grants over the past 15 years.

“If you look back at the history of Martin Bionics, there are several significant pieces in that timeline that have OCAST’s name on it,” he said. “We have a real gift here in Oklahoma that some other states don’t have.”

Martin’s company now employees about 70 people, not only at its Oklahoma City headquarters but also at five clinics in Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.

“We’re growing very quickly and will probably double in size this year,” he said. “We have a very exciting runway ahead of us.”

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