Three Design Council MedTechSouthEast finalists were recognised last night at the AXA Health Tech & You Awards, with Lise Pape, the inventor of a laser-emitting shoe that helps people with Parkinson's disease, winning the 'Independent Living' trophy.  

The AXA Health Tech & You Awards, now in their second year, are a joint initiative led by AXA PPP healthcare, the think-tank 2020health and the Design Museum. Their aim is to guide and grow the conversation about health tech, empowering people everywhere to use technology to lead healthier lives and be more in control of their health and wellbeing. 

Winner Lise Pape’s design is the Path Finder shoe which is designed to helps those who suffer from ‘freezing of gait’, a common challenge for people with Parkinson’s. The effect is described as feeling as though your feet are glued to the floor, and is often cited as the reason 38% of Parkinson sufferers experience falls each year. Falls represent the most frequent and serious type of accident in people aged 65 and over and currently cost the NHS £2.3bn every year.

Lise’s company, Walk with Path, has developed a solution in shoes mounted with lasers which project green lines ahead as the person walks, activated by a sensor in each heel that monitors the user’s walking pattern and pace. The shoe produces a line which provides a visual cue to step over. 

"Lise’s innovative thinking around how to tackle trips and falls in people with Parkinson’s was particularly creative", commented James Freeston, a spokesperson for AXA PPP healthcare, "We’d like to congratulate her again and wish her the best on the journey of getting this possibly life-changing device to market.”

"We are honoured to have won the AXA PPP Health Tech & You award in the Independent Living category", Lise said of her win, "Taking part in the MedTechSouthEast programme with AXA and Design Council has greatly helped us in moving our design for Path Finder forward. The awards night was a great way to celebrate the conclusion of the programme.” 

Two other MedTechSouthEast finalists were also commended for their innovative and life-changing devices. Joon Faii Ong’s GyroGlove aids people with debilitating hand tremors also caused by Parkinson's disease. The glove has been a resounding success and has plans to launch on market at the end of 2016. The third MedTechSouthEast finalist awarded last night was Nigel David from ANN Medical, who created Dermaspray, a no-touch design that sprays medication onto a targeted joint.  

John Mathers, Design Council CEO,  said of the awards: "The independence and freedom inventions like these can give to people with debilitating conditions is inspiring. Their combination of entrepreneurial spirit and designer’s minds are truly innovating the healthcare landscape. It’s a fine example of how design can improve lives, and Design Council is proud to have helped them on their way to market.”

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