A North East company which trains professional athletes by speeding up their perception and reaction times is targeting expansion in the US.
Newcastle-based Okkulo, whose system has been used by professional clubs in a number of sports, works by helping the brain find quicker ways to react to fast-moving objects such as footballs.
Research carried out in partnership with academics at Durham University has shown that athletes who have spent an hour training with the system have experienced up to a 20% improvement in their perception and reaction times.
Okkulo was founded by entrepreneur and former independent filmmaker Mel O’Connor, who originally came up with the idea while looking at how light worked through the lens of a camera before exploring how it could be applied in a sporting context.
He said: “At the very top level of professional sport, increasingly we are seeing athletes who have peaked physically, utilize technology to find extra improvements to stay one step ahead of their opponents.
“We have spent the last 20 years developing Okkulo and by understanding the science around what is happening behind the eyes and how actions are processed, we have created a system which makes athletes see things quicker.
“The technology can now be adapted to any sport – whether it involves kicking or catching a ball, swinging a bat, or throwing and defending a punch”.
The company has a research and development facility in Newcastle which has been used by a number of professional athletes and coaches.
The company is now targetting expansion into America and has launched a temporary hub in Santa Monica, California, where the company will be working with a host of professional athletes across a range of sports.
Last year Okkulo has named Tech Nation’s Rising Stars initiative, which is designed to support the best up-and-coming technology companies around the UK.