Young Innovator: Philippe Durocher

For Philippe Durocher, TP, the inspiration for Kostomize, an
innovative custom-orthotic casting concept that involves injecting liquid resin
into a stretchable insole, came to him from an unlikely source: hearing aids.

Durocher, 34 years old, has worked in the orthotic field for 15 years
and has owned Laboratoire Bergeron, an orthotic laboratory in Montreal, for the
last 9 years.

“I headed into the orthotic industry because I’ve always liked
to help and work with people, and because it is an area where there is a lot of
room for innovation,” Durocher told O&P Business News.
“But since finishing my studies, I have found a few gaps in how this
industry is doing things. While current methods allow us to achieve good
outcomes, there is a lot of room for improvement.”

Durocher was especially concerned with the lack of precision and control
in the casting process, as well as the length of the entire process. While
considering these issues, Durocher stumbled across a product used in the
process of fabricating hearing aids, in which silicone is inserted into a
pocket in the ear. The resin reacts while inside, molding to create an ideal
fit inside of the person’s ear.

“I came across this product, and I said to myself, ‘I think I
just discovered how to propel foot orthoses to a new level,’”
Durocher said. “This new concept would be quicker, more accurate and more


Durocher began working on a way to translate this method into casting
plantar orthoses. In addition to creating a better fit, Durocher believed this
concept could condense the casting process into one step by turning the cast
into the actual orthotic.

An insole injected with liquid resin becomes an orthosis the patient can wear the same day.

An insole injected with liquid resin becomes an orthosis the patient can wear the same day.

Image: courtesy of Philippe Durocher


“I had the basic idea, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to
make it happen because I have a business to run and clients to see,” he

So Durocher began working with TAK Design, a design and development
studio in Montreal, to bring his idea to fruition.

“TAK Design really helped me push the project further by assisting
me with research and helping me to develop the product,” Durocher said.
“Together, we made prototypes, did tests, sourced the right materials and
developed the correct way to put it all together.”

After testing several prototypes and designs, Durocher created
Kostomize. The patient places his or her foot on the “docking
station” which contains a prefabricated insole with a stretchable
membrane. The membrane is divided into zones which correspond to different
areas of the foot. A computer-controlled system injects liquid resin into the
insole, evenly distributing pressure under the foot and inflating the zones
specified by the orthotist. Once the zones are inflated, the resin reacts and
hardens within minutes, enabling the patient to walk out with his or her
orthosis on the same day.

“The casting process becomes the orthotic itself,” Durocher
said. “When we start the process of the resin injection, it takes only 15
minutes for the orthosis to take shape. Then we put on the top cover and fit
the orthosis in the shoe.

“This new concept is able to address the same issues as current
orthoses, such as fasciitis, flat feet, high arches and biomechanical problems
that cause feet, knee and back pain. It will also be a perfect orthosis for

Durocher said his method would improve precision of the casting process,
reduce the amount of revisions needed when fitting an orthosis and allow
delivery of an orthotic device in one visit. According to Durocher, these
benefits would result in a reduction in production costs of 30% to 50% and a
decrease in labor of 40% to 50%.


After 2 years of work, patent-pending Kostomize is currently in the
early stages of production, and Durocher is working on solidifying marketing
and distribution channels for his device.

Durocher plans to begin distribution of Kostomize within the next few
months and hopes that it will be available for purchase by early 2013.

“I am currently working with experts around the world to push the
limits of new materials and assembly techniques,” he said. “After 2
years of effort, we are about to overcome the remaining technical challenges
and switch from production to distribution.”

Durocher’s design was recently recognized by the Business
Development Bank of Canada as one of eight finalists for its Young Entrepreneur
Award. The recognition was invaluable for Durocher’s efforts to actualize
his innovative concept.

“I sincerely believe that this method will change the ways of doing
things and push the domain to another level,” Durocher said. “I am
very excited to put this new product on the market.” — by Megan

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Disclosure: Durocher is the president and owner of Laboratoire Bergeron.

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