Photograph of (from left) Tom Quinn, Stephenie Goddard and Rob Paterson

From left: Tom Quinn, Stephenie Goddard and Rob Paterson

ORB Innovations acquired by US-based Glidewell for development of smart oral appliances technology

A start-up founded by Loughborough University engineering alumni that has developed a unique technology platform to measure physiological parameters, such as heart rate, as well as biomechanics, such as head impacts, is acquired by California-based Glidewell, a global leader in custom dental solutions.

OSG exploded view, showing the various components of the ORB technology

The ORB technology platform is effectively the world's only fitness tracker wearable in the mouth. In some sports, it is also the only wearable that can be worn during competitive activities.

Founded in 2017, ORB Innovations was supported from the outset by the Loughborough Enterprise Network. Rob Paterson (Product Design Engineering, 2017) and Tom Quinn (Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 2018)  participated in competitions, pre-accelerator and accelerators in Loughborough University London’s Future Space, before being selected for LUinc., the University’s incubator based on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park.

Rob Paterson, CEO and Co-founder of ORB Innovations, said: "We are thrilled to join the Glidewell family. As one of the largest dental companies in the world – with a 50-year track record of pioneering new technology – we feel we have found a natural home.

“The acquisition will allow us to accelerate the launch of our unique platform in the US and to increase the pace of our research and development in other areas. Together, ORB Innovations and Glidewell will bring to market a whole range of smart oral products that will provide flexible new options for health-conscious consumers."

Glidewell has a formidable record of technological innovation, since its founding in 1970, but this acquisition marks the first investment in smart dental products in its expansive portfolio.

Glidewell CEO, Stephenie Goddard said: "We see the platform the ORB team has developed as an exciting evolution for the sports market. And it's easy to envision applications in other wellness related areas in line with Glidewell's mission to bring innovative solutions to dental practitioners and their patients all over the world."

Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at Loughborough, said: “This is fantastic news and further evidence of the excellent innovation ecosystem we are building here at the University – I am delighted for the team.

“Since its launch, ORB Innovations has shown outstanding potential and I am pleased that this has been recognised by Glidewell. The acquisition will stimulate further investment in innovation – enhancing employment for electrical engineers, software developers, sports and data scientists, and other technology enthusiasts in the UK and will further inspire more startups from the University’s student and graduate entrepreneur community.”