A new academic/industry partnership is set to aid the recovery of stroke survivors and amputees. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University and PAL Technologies Ltd will develop patient-centred training tools for use at home and in the community to improve walking abilities. The wireless based technology will also offer cloud based data management and visualisation to allow both the patient and their therapist to share ongoing progress and goal attainment, thereby increasing the chances of a more successful rehabilitation.
Traditionally, the rehabilitation of those with reduced mobility as a result of stroke or amputation (a common complication of diabetes for instance), has been challenging for the patient and their support team of healthcare professionals. Current interventions designed to assist often prove difficult for the patient to follow and, particularly if they also have other associated health problems, can lead to disenchantment with the process which results in failure to maintain the rehabilitation programme.
In contrast, the new AGILE (Ambulatory Guidance for Interactive Locomotion Enhancement) project will fully and personally engage the patient in their own rehabilitation throughout the entire process. A novel technology solution will enable real-time measurement and data analysis with direct feedback on progress being provided to both patient and healthcare professionals. An additional, important, benefit of this more direct involvement in the rehabilitation programme by all parties is that any modifications or adjustments required to aid the patient in making a quicker and more effective recovery can be easily agreed upon and swiftly implemented.
AGILE’s industrial partner, Glasgow based PAL Technologies, has a track record in providing clinical measurement tools for researchers worldwide who quantify physical behaviours (sitting, standing, stepping) and link sedentary behaviours with chronic disease risk. CEO Douglas Maxwell said, “Our current activPALTM devices require to be worn for a period of time with data subsequently being downloaded and analysed but the new device will incorporate wireless technology and real time feedback. Involvement in this 30 month project will allow us not only to offer an improved product to our existing core market of clinical researchers but also to build on the relationship we already have with a major prosthetic manufacturer, and engage more fully in the rehabilitation sector.
“Our expectation is that the new technology will enable us to launch a further range of products, initially in the UK and US markets, expanding our workforce as required to meet demand for the new device.”
AGILE’s academic partners meanwhile contribute valuable sensors, orthotics and human movement expertise, as well as state-of-the-art human performance laboratories.
“Delivering rehabilitation by measuring movement within controlled laboratory conditions is something which we have extensive experience of,” said the project team’s knowledge base supervisor Dr Andrew Kerr, a core member of the Centre for Excellence for Rehabilitation Research (CERR) in the Biomedical Engineering Department of the University of Strathclyde. “However, a device which will provide real-time targeted feedback on the patient’s walking abilities outside the laboratory during their normal day-to-day life will be of immense assistance in motivating and encouraging the patient and will provide valuable information to their healthcare team.”
Dr Scott Telfer, a bioengineer based at Glasgow Caledonian University with a track record of research in healthcare and rehabilitation will provide academic support to the project. “With approximately 50 thousand and 20 million individuals in the UK and US respectively currently living with amputation, mainly lower limb,” he said, “it’s fantastic that this new device will offer those with reduced walking ability a hitherto missing personalised prescription for improved wellbeing. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Nicholas Smith has recently joined the project team in the key role of Software Engineer/KTP Associate and is based within PAL Technologies. Nicholas brings significant, relevant, technical expertise to the project thanks to his background in programing and system design skills, and in medical devices. Throughout the 30 month duration of the project Nicholas will be supervised by Dr Scott Telfer and also by Dr David Loudon, Senior Software Engineer, PAL Technologies. ENDS
For further information please contact :- Jan Clark, Communications Executive, PAL Technologies Ltd (E: firstname.lastname@example.org, T: 0141 303 8380) John Beaton, Communications Officer, University of Strathclyde (E: email@example.com, T: 0141 548 2924) Roisin Eadie, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Glasgow Caledonian University (E: Roisin.firstname.lastname@example.org), T: 0141 331 8614
Notes for Editors
PAL Technologies Ltd (www.paltechnologies.com)
Since 2001 PAL Technologies has been providing support from its headquarters in Glasgow to more than 200 institutions worldwide. Many of the researchers and clinicians utilising PAL’s devices are investigating the correlation between physical behaviours and chronic disease to help inform treatment interventions and chronic disease risk.
The core technology behind the PAL family of products has been developed and refined over a number of years using both patient groups and unimpaired subjects. Researchers and clinicians found that although they could easily measure the walking skills and exercise tolerance of their patients and subjects in the laboratory, this told them little about the type and level of activities they actually did when they were at home or work. As self-report diaries can be less than reliable, PAL undertook to develop simple and unobtrusive technologies to accurately describe posture allocation and free-living activity in order to provide the researchers, clinicians and anyone else with an interest in quantifying sedentary, upright and ambulatory activities with the detailed evidence they required. To date almost 800 academic journal articles and conference presentations have featured research using the company’s activPAL device.
University of Strathclyde (www.strath.ac.uk)
The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university which is recognised for strong research links with business and industry, commitment to enterprise and skills development, and knowledge sharing with the private and public sectors. The University was named UK University of the Year in the 2012 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards. In the 2013 THE Awards, the University was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year.
Glasgow Caledonian University (www.gcu.ac.uk)
GCU, the University for the Common Good, is an international university delivering excellence to 20,000 students. It has a Glasgow campus and campuses in London and New York, and partnerships in Bangladesh, Africa and Oman. It is the top modern university in Scotland by research power (REF 2014) and 95% of graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2014). GCU is a signatory to the United Nations PRME initiative (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and is the first Scottish university to join the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsible management initiative.