ARYSE, a Lincoln-based company that designs exo-performance products, has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) through the AFWERX Innovation Program. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the SBIR process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants, and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, and now in 20.1, the Air Force has begun offering ‘Special’ SBIR topics that are faster, leaner, and open to a broader range of innovations.

The Phase I award will allow ARYSE to further develop a line of exo-performance ankle products that provide pre- and post-injury protection to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Ankle injuries are the most common type of lower extremity injury sustained in the military, resulting in 25 million limited duty days and costing the Military Health System $548 million dollars annually1. ARYSE sees this as an opportunity to transform the treatment of ankle injuries. Using anatomy-inspired technology, ARYSE’s exo-performance products are able to strengthen and support the body, which allows the warfighter to return to duty faster, ultimately increasing overall military readiness. These products will be available to be purchased off the shelf or designed custom with STRATUSFORMscanning technology.

STRATUSFORM™ is a scanning technology that captures images of the injured foot, ankle, and lower leg in a true weight-bearing position. A digital image is then created and used to develop a fully customized, 3D-printed exo-performance product. The use of 3D printing is a concept being heavily explored by many agencies within the Department of Defense (DoD). The proposed solution would place STRATUSFORM at military bases across the country and abroad. Upon injury, a soldier would be scanned and have a custom product printed for use within 24-48 hours.

In addition to custom options available through STRATUSFORM, ARYSE has also developed a commercial line of patented, preventative exo-performance ankle products – the IFAST® and XFAST®. These products incorporate functional stability, which mimics the natural movement of the body and provides protection at the joint’s end range of motion without limiting performance. The IFAST and XFAST have been used by teams in the National Football League, Major League Lacrosse, and the NCAA, as well as by athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, and various other athletes.

ARYSE is excited to pursue this partnership with the U.S. Air Force to improve protection of our warfighters and contribute to mission performance.

ARYSE is moving to fundamentally change how the active body is protected by designing exo-performance products inspired by anatomy to strengthen and support its dynamic movements and achieve its best results.


If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Erin Dutter at erin.dutter@aryse.com.


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1. Combat and Noncombat Musculoskeletal Injuries in the US Military. 2019. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31361716