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£1.8m for Healthcare Tech Research project


£1.8m for Healthcare Tech Research project

Monday 2 March 2015

The University has partnered with six universities on a £1.86 million project researching biosensors to monitor how patients use equipment or exercise during rehabilitation.

This is one of three innovative research projects awarded £5.3 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

A prosthetic hand controlled by the nervous system and robotic clothing to help people with walking are the focus of the other two studies. 

UK scientists and clinicians devised the research after being challenged to transform the design and development of assistive and rehabilitative devices during EPSRC’s sandpit selection process.

The University of Salford partnered with Cardiff University, the University of Kent, UCL (University College of London), Oxford Brookes University and the University of York and the project is led by the University of Warwick. 

During the study - ‘Adaptive, Assistive Rehabilitative Technology: Beyond the Clinic’, researchers will design and develop cheap, disposable, unobtrusive bio-sensors such as temporary tattoos and smart watches to use with patients who use wheelchairs or prosthetics as well as older people.

The study will collect data and monitor how patients use equipment provided to them, and also measure how they follow exercise advice at home, for example, after a stroke or accident. The research will also develop software that uses the biosensor information to support users with the equipment or exercises in their own home. Currently there is no picture of what happens after a patient leaves the clinic. Anecdotally, poor use of equipment or not following physiotherapy guidance on exercise can lead to more complex health problems.

Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC said: “These research studies will improve patients’ lives, allow greater independence and benefit patients with a wide range of mobility and co-ordination difficulties. With the UK’s ageing population and a rise in disabilities EPSRC investment in healthcare research has a national impact.”

Laurence Kenney, Professor in Rehabilitation Technologies said: “The information we will gain through this research will have a huge positive impact on patients and will enable them to leave hospital sooner. It will also enable clinicians and medical technologists to understand conditions, better support patients in their home environment, and improve or adjust the design of equipment for patients.”