For six years Tauranga entrepreneur Max Cherry has lived and breathed his invention, and drawn very little wages. Now it's time to take his business to the next marketing and retailing level, and get a return from his Osteo Machines.
Mr Cherry, closing in on his 70th birthday, used Nasa and American university research papers to develop his own "body mimicking" device which provides relief for people suffering from osteoporosis (thinning of bone tissue).
Nasa research, headed by Professor Clinton Rubin, whom Mr Cherry spoke to, found that vibration plates improved astronauts' mobility - and increased their bone density - after they stood on them for 10-20 minutes a day.
The astronauts often returned to earth unable to balance and even walk properly, and the vibration plates were installed in later spacecraft.
Mr Cherry's machine looks like home scales, but it's much more.
His device also has vibration plates to stimulate a person's bone and muscles, and he recommends standing on it for 20 minutes a day.
The Osteo Machine mimics the body's own signals in the brain and shifts stem cells, and the "dynamic motion" or small pulses encourages bone development and can reverse osteoporosis.
Mr Cherry said the tiny vibrations created by the machine created a greater synchronisation of muscle fibre, causing them to rhythmically stretch and contract, and blood to flow. The pain in muscles and joints was reduced, even eliminated.
"The machine's vibrations shifts stem cells to where they are needed," he said. "It's only a tiny movement and you hardly feel it. The vibrations are a mere fraction of a g-force."
Mr Cherry, who formed his V-Robic company in May 2006, first started building machines with greater vibrations - between two to six g-force - and they were useful in gyms for strengthening muscles.
But after watching family members suffer from the degenerative bone disease, he wanted to move his machine into the medical arena as an alternative to drugs.
His advanced Osteo Machine is being rebranded under the name Medxcel, which describes the medical X-factor of the stem cells.
Within a month the compact and portable Medxcel machine - it weighs 13kg and costs about $800 - will be promoted in a television campaign here. And new business partner, marketing director Fred Stewart, is looking to grow exports in Australia, and elsewhere, by organising distributors.
So far, V-Robic has sold about 400 of the advanced Osteo Machines, with 30 going overseas to Australia, Finland, Britain, the United States and even northern Russia.
The innovative company has a team of five engineers making the fibreglass devices, with steel handles to grip on to, in its "secret" workshop in Hewletts Rd. I wasn't allowed to see what was going on inside.
Frustratingly, Mr Cherry wasn't able to take up an order for 600 machines a month to the US because of the volatility and fluctuations of the NZ dollar.
"We wanted to gear up for the US market," he said.
"An insurance company that employed caregivers would take container loads, but the bank advised it was too much of a risk if the exchange rate went against us and reduced price margins.
"We will concentrate on the New Zealand and Australian markets first - they are easier to work with."
Mr Cherry wants to target patients in hospitals, and people with diabetes, particularly Maori, who need more exercise to reduce weight. "I'm working with a couple of hospitals but it's a long-term project.
"People lie in their hospital beds and lose muscle strength."
Mr Cherry believes the Osteo Machine can be installed underneath the mattress and the pulses will be enough to "keep the muscles up to standard".
And there's the office worker. "I'm getting a lot of research showing that people sitting at a desk all day can have their life shortened 10-15 per cent by not exercising.
"In Scandinavia they have desk tops that pop up so the workers can stand on (vibration) machines."
Mr Cherry ran oyster farms in Mahurangi north of Warkworth for 12 years before joining the police force in Auckland for five years, and then moving to Katikati, with his wife Ngaere, in the early 1980s, to operate a kiwifruit orchard.
When the price of a tray of green kiwifruit dropped from $12.50 to about $5.50 in the late 1980s, he sold up and bought a hectare of land on the corner of Bethlehem Rd and the State Highway.
He finally subdivided it and the new street was called Cherry Lane. In between, Mr Cherry built two yachts - 13-metre and 20-metre masthead sloops - and sailed one around the Pacific, and the other through the Panama Canal to the US.
He sold the first in Australia and the second at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.
He also helped his son, Roger, establish the Pamac galvanising plant in Oropi Rd and the business was sold to Hamilton-based Perry Metal Protection.
"I guess you can call me an opportunist," Mr Cherry said. "My father was pretty innovative and he had the attitude that 'if you want to do something, go and do it because you are only here once'."
Mr Cherry's latest opportunity is firmly focused on the Osteo Machine.
"People come in with so many pains, and the response to the device is huge. I will keep doing this and get it into the hospitals - or even an insurance company."