In a recent appearance on the Innovate That podcast hosted by Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Oklahoma City inventor and entrepreneur Jay Martin told how his work with NASA inspired his company’s prosthetic innovation known as the Socket-less Socket.
Listen to the entire podcast sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and hear Jay describe his work on NASA exoskeleton designs and how it carried over to his own company, Martin Bionics.
A recap of Jay’s comments that I wrote appeared in the March 17 edition of the Journal Record. (subscription required)
However, space limitations for that article prevented inclusions of several comments Jay made about the impact OCAST and the Oklahoma Innovation Model have had on his prosthetic design work over the years.
I thought they shed some light on how critical state support of innovators like Jay can be, so I’m posting his comments in this blog.
All of these comments are from Jay Martin made during the Innovate That podcast:
Martin on the value of OCAST
If you look back at the history of Martin Bionics, there are several significant pieces in that timeline, in that story line that have OCAST’s name on it. At the very beginning I was practicing clinical prosthetics and had some ideas for some new prosthetic designs and ended up discovering OCAST. I went to every workshop OCAST had. I learned how to write grants, taught myself how to write patents, along with OCAST’s help in some of those workshops, and ended up winning my first OCAST grant, I think, while I was either still in residency or just out of residency. That was really the launching pad for me.
That really shaped the entire trajectory of my career. I ended up winning a number of OCAST grants over the years for technologies we were developing, but the impact to the amputee community has been significant from OCAST funding. And, obviously, Martin Bionics’ growth and trajectory and all of our staff, we can all thank OCAST for so many of those significant pieces of our journey. It’s a great resource we have here in Oklahoma. It’s incredible. I’ve encouraged so many other entrepreneurs to check it out because it has really been lifeblood for us to really accomplish some things that otherwise we would not have been able to.
Martin on the Oklahoma Innovation Model
When I was first starting, I was green. I knew nothing about entrepreneurship, grants, patents or any of that, so I was hungry to find information.
(Editor’s note: The Oklahoma Innovation Model includes OCAST, i2E Inc., the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Catalyst Programs at the University of Oklahoma.)
All of those are incredible resources. Anyone who is young on their journey on entrepreneurship or advancing or creating, they are incredible resources and I’ve always found there are staff members in each of those organizations who are standing by ready to help, ready to answer questions and ready to go to lunch with you and download information. They are there to help us be successful. Absolutely incredible resources.
We have a real gift here in Oklahoma that some other states don’t have.
Why locate Martin Bionics here in Oklahoma?
I was born in Oklahoma, grew up in Norman, worked in Oklahoma City in my adult life. Oklahoma is a great place, and from the standpoint of entrepreneurship, the resources we have, you have OCAST and all those other great organizations there, but in addition to that we have relatively low cost of living, we have really nice people, we have a really progressive city that is amazing. It’s not too big, just the right size. We have rush minutes, not hours. It’s just a great place to raise a family, to live, to work and to play.
There’s enough industry in Oklahoma that there’s really a talented pool of applicants for hiring. So we’ve been able to grow our business compared to the coasts for a fraction of the price.
Watch a video interview OCAST conducted with Jay Martin from 2018: