Laser-emitting shoes which help people overcome ‘freezing-of-gait’ and a Meccano-style walking aid kit are just two of the inventions Design Council is helping fledgling medtech companies to develop.
The inaugural MedTechSouthEast pitching event at the Royal College of General Practitioners on 10 November saw fourteen finalists showcase their product ideas. The shortlisted applicants’ concepts ranged from walking aids to communications devices, all of which aim to help people stay independent for longer as they get older or develop debilitating illnesses.
A judging panel led by Roger Highfield, science journalist, broadcaster and Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum, selected ten winners who will now receive exclusive mentoring from some of Design Council’s leading experts to develop and commercialise their products.
MedTechSouthEast has highlighted some of the fantastic pool of innovation talent we have in Britain, this programme will now harness it and develop these brilliant ideas.John Mathers, Design Council Chief Executive
The ten winning MedTechSouthEast companies are:
- Dermaspray – An automated, spray-on medication reducing inflammation and pain in people with arthritis, while avoiding the side-effects of oral tablets
- Dolman Plug & Socket – a plug and socket system that can be pushed in or removed with little effort designed for people with poor grip
- Esher's Maternity & Menstrual Solutions – disposable leak-proof absorbent briefs to for women during periods or after childbirth
- Evolvable Walking Aid Kit – a ‘build-it-yourself’ walking aid kit to overcome to lack of adaptability in walking frames, crutches or sticks as people’s needs change or children grow
- GyroGear – gyroscope and sensor technology in a glove to combat hand tremor in people with conditions such as Parkinson’s
- Helicon LiveLong – online tool to help interdisciplinary care teams manage the health of elderly people with multiple conditions more effectively and easily
- Integro Smart Box – a system to manage the need to take multiple drugs that sends an alert to family or carers via text or email when medication is late or missed
- Path Finder – shoes that incorporate laser and sensor technology to emit lines ahead as users walk to tackle ‘freezing of gait’ in people with Parkinson’s
- Speak Set – video calling via the TV to help elderly people easily keep in touch with caregivers and family
- Strawz – fixed-dose medicine dispenser to ensure accurate doses.
The ten winners will now take part in an intensive accelerator programme led by design experts and medtech industry leaders. The programme will give teams a practical, thorough understanding of how to use design to fast-track the commercialisation of their innovations. They will learn how to better plan, prototype and effectively communicate their products, maximising impact and managing risks.
John Mathers, Chief Executive of Design Council said: “Technology can be a vital tool in retaining our quality of life as we get older. MedTechSouthEast has highlighted some of the fantastic pool of innovation talent we have in Britain, this programme will now harness it and develop these brilliant ideas. We need to increase the convergence of tech and design to create usable, accessible, human-centred devices and systems that will help us all retain our quality of life as we age.”
The winners have also been granted an exclusive category in supporter’s AXA PPP healthcare’s own awards programme, the Health Tech and You Awards 2016.
MedCity Executive Chair, Dr Eliot Foster, said: “What stands out is the variety, quality and creativity of medtech entrepreneurs who are innovating to tackle the everyday challenges of life. It’s striking that in so many cases, the product has been developed in response to direct experience – whether that’s seeing loved ones struggle with a condition or through working with patients. These insights are incredibly important and highlight the need to involve users in medical innovation right from the start, because patients and their carer’s are the people who understand their needs best.”
MedTechSouthEast has highlighted a problem which is becoming increasingly evident - with an ever-growing and ageing population, our public services are being stretched to breaking point.
We believe that design, by advancing medical technology, can provide an answer. We need to translate these advances into consumer-focused devices and systems which allow us to live independently, monitor our wellbeing, and motivate us to manage our health more effectively.
Watch this space for more news on how our ten finalists go through the design process of developing their new technologies.
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