Photos Courtesy of Fillauer and Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce
Orthotics & Prosthetics
At 8 years old and living in Knoxville, Michael Fillauer would leave school in the afternoons and walk across the street to his father’s orthotics and prosthetics patient care clinic. In a way, it seems he was destined for a future in the field. In 2007, Fillauer relocated to Chattanooga to run the manufacturing division of the family company. Now three years in as CEO, he has pushed for research and development in high-performance feet and upper extremity prostheses that are changing the evolution, design, and technology of the entire industry.
How It’s Disrupting the Industry
The launch of the Nexo System is a return to body-powered prosthetics for durability, lightweight frame, and low cost. “There are no electronics. There’s no battery. There’s no microprocessor,” Fillauer explains. The Nexo System is the first major change in body-powered upper extremity prosthetics in the last 60 years. The AllPro foot, which combines a carbon composite running blade with a standard foot for use as a cross-trainer, has also put the company in the spotlight. This lower-limb prosthesis can serve both everyday walking needs and high-performance athletics.
2018 in Review
With divisions in Chattanooga, Salt Lake City, Asheville, and Sweden, Fillauer saw double digit revenue growth last year, much to the credit of new product lines. In addition to Nexo and AllPro, the company became a distributor for TASKA™, the world’s first waterproof myoelectric hand with multiarticulating fingers. The grips can support gardening, tying shoes, holding cutlery, and writing with a pen.
Outlook for 2019
This year, Fillauer projects his company’s carbon composite feet will continue to take market share, and Nexo technology for upper extremity will evolve. “Right now, we have a below and above elbow system, and we’re coming out with a myoelectric version of it,” he explains. “We’re going to continue to expand and really redefine the way upper extremity prosthetics are fitted to patients.”