BYU student Shaquille Walker left behind his professional running career and teamed up with BYU alum Jonothan DiPeri to create a device to improve injury prevention and recovery. Their device, The Meteor, will hit the market in December.
The Meteor is a massage device that combines concentrated massage, therapeutic vibration and heat in a 3.9 inch diameter ball, according to the product’s website, MyoStorm.com.
DiPeri said he came up with the concept for The Meteor while he was at BYU studying mechanical engineering.
The two were joined by BYU professor Jonathan D. Blotter and associate professor Brent Feland to help make the product a reality.
“I did my research on vibration here at BYU with Dr. Feland and so I started developing this product about two years ago,” DiPeri said.
Vibration is an important part of muscle recovery because it helps the muscle relax, according to Feland.
DiPeri said he always talked about hypothetical business ideas before college, but he never made any of them a reality until studying at BYU.
DiPeri said he met Walker when the two were mission companions. Nearly every day they woke up with a new business idea. DiPeri said they would often talk about how they could make millions with their imagined products.
After his mission, DiPeri began working on the concept for what would become The Meteor with Blotter, a mechanical engineering professor at BYU. He also studied vibration’s effects on muscle recovery with Feland, a physical therapist and BYU exercise science professor.
While DiPeri began conception on The Meteor, Walker left BYU to run with a professional team called Brooks Running based in Seattle, Washington during summer 2016.
Walker specialized in the 800-meter run. He set six school records and earned six All-American honors during his time at BYU. In 2016, he finished in 11th place at the Olympic trials.
While competing professionally with Brooks Running, Walker said he noticed the muscular recovery industry wasn’t as good as it could have been.
“I was using some of the best recovery devices at the time, and they weren’t doing what I needed,” Walker said.
So, at age 24, Walker stepped away from professional running because he said he wanted to improve injury prevention and recovery within the athletic industry.
DiPeri said he reached out to Walker because of the former athlete’s experience in the sports industry. The two joined with Feland and Blotter, and the group combined their expertise to transform The Meteor into a marketable product.
Walker and DiPeri developed The Meteor’s design and entered it into multiple competitions at BYU like the Founders’ Launchpad, a mentoring course for start-up companies.
Jake Kissell, a BYU student studying entrepreneurship who also served in the same mission as Walker and DiPeri, joined the team after the competition to help with marketing.
The team launched the project on Kickstarter in August. They were supported by over 500 backers and more than tripled their pledged goal of $20,000, according to the Kickstarter website.
The device is backed by professional athletes Jared Ward, a marathon competitor in the Rio Olympics, and Drew Windle, an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness athlete.
“The meteor is the perfect recovery tool. The vibration, heat and rigid structure is scientifically tuned to aid muscle relaxation. You won’t find a product like this anywhere,” Ward said.
Kissell said the MyoStorm team said it hopes to help more athletes experience better muscle recovery as Ward has.
According to Kissell, The Meteor is currently being produced in China.
“We hope to get the first test run of the product in soon so we can start producing right away. If everything goes as planned, we are looking at having it available in December,” Kissell said.
The Meteor has an edge on other recovery products because it combines both heat and vibration, according to Kissell.
“Heat and vibration are really useful for treatment of muscular skeletal stiffness and also muscular skeletal pain,” Feland said, adding that The Meteor is unique because it combines the two.
Feland said heat treatment is good for muscles because it helps them relax, increases the blood flow and improves the muscular performance.
Localized heat, which The Meteor provides to a specific region, helps improve the blood flow to the muscle and speeds up recovery, Feland said, and the beneficial effects of vibration aren’t common knowledge in the athletic recovery market.
Vibration can be used for massage, according to Feland, but it also makes the sensory receptors within the skin and the muscle activate. That, in turn, affects the neurological system which helps the muscle relax.
“The Meteor isn’t just for athletes, it can be used by anyone if they want to be more pain-free,” Feland said.