LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As a 16-year-old freshman at North Oldham High School, SmartSportsUSA, LLC (www.SmartSportsUSA.com) founder and president Darsh Shah wanted a trampoline. When he and his younger brother approached their parents with this idea, the answer was no because of the fear of injury. So Darsh took this as a challenge, learning more about trampoline safety and exploring ways technology might help address these concerns.
Now two years later, Darsh has invented a patent-pending trampoline monitoring and notification device and a mobile app to address safety-related concerns. In addition, he has recently raised $50,000 in seed capital and signed a sponsored research contract for proof of concept testing with the University of Louisville.
When Darsh began to explore trampoline safety, he learned that trampoline injuries were caused predominantly by one of three things: the load or weight of the users, often caused by too many people on the trampoline at the same time; the moisture level of the trampoline bed, with more injuries happening if the material is wet; and the elasticity of the material, when the trampoline is outside of an approved tolerance level, often due to age and usage. SmartSportsUSA’s patent-pending device addresses all three.
The resulting device, attached under the trampoline bed, uses three sensors (load, moisture and elasticity) to measure and track common trampoline usage and performance hazards. The monitoring device sends relevant tracking information to a smart device via a mobile app, alerting the parent or guardian of any dangers when the trampoline is in use.
“Every year, there are several hundred thousand trampoline-related injuries in the U.S. alone – and just the injuries that are reported and medically treated,” said Darsh Shah, Founder and President of SmartSportsUSA. “Most of these injuries are due to collisions caused by too many people simultaneously on the trampoline. While some injuries can be severe or even fatal, many involve concussions, orthopedic sprains, and breaks that could easily have been prevented. Our patent-pending device can monitor trampoline usage, alert parents or guardians if there is a concern and reduce injuries from even having a chance to occur.”
According to investor Jay Lawson of Nashville, who participated in the seed capital round, “I am excited about SmartSports’ focus on improving sports safety via technology solutions like innovative monitoring and notification devices. Darsh represents the next generation of entrepreneurs identifying problems and barriers and developing new solutions to overcome them.”
Dr. John Naber, director of the University of Louisville sponsored research contract, added, “I think Darsh’s idea to bring a new approach to trampoline safety makes a lot of sense, and there is nothing like it in the current marketplace. I look forward to helping him develop a prototype for his novel idea.”
Darsh launched SmartSportsUSA in January 2023, initially applying for the trampoline monitoring and alert system provisional patent in March 2021 and the non-provisional patent in February 2022. According to Darsh, the recently raised seed capital will support product development and business growth, including building a proof of concept for the device and conducting a feasibility study with the University of Louisville. At the same time, he is working with his technology team to build a second trampoline community app that explores the gamification of trampoline usage.
Interested in technology from an early age, Darsh is a 2022 Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs graduate. In 2021, he interned for a local start-up company, testing their mobile apps and website. Along with his academic achievements and passion for innovation, he has a passion for soccer and has played club and school soccer for many years.