GCU to support development of innovative tools to enhance agility

17 December 2015

GCU to support development of innovative tools to enhance agility

Members of the project team examine an ankle foot orthosis (AFO)

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is working with PAL Technologies Ltd and the University of Strathclyde on an innovative project to aid the recovery of stroke survivors and amputees.

The new AGILE (Ambulatory Guidance for Interactive Locomotion Enhancement) project will involve the development of patient-centred training tools, for use at home and in the community, to improve walking abilities.

The wireless-based technology will 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. Real-time measurement and data analysis with direct feedback on progress will be provided to both patient and healthcare professionals. With more direct involvement in the rehabilitation programme, any modifications or adjustments required to aid the patient in making a quicker and more effective recovery can be agreed upon easily and swiftly implemented.

GCU, alongside the University of Strathclyde, will contribute to the Knowledge Transfer Partnership valuable sensors, orthotics and human movement expertise, as well as state-of-the-art human performance laboratories. It is expected that the new technology will appeal to international markets.

GCU Research Fellow Dr Scott Telfer, a bioengineer with extensive experience of research in healthcare and rehabilitation, will provide academic support to the project.

Dr Telfer said: "With approximately 50,000 and 20 million individuals in the UK and US, respectively, currently living with amputation, mainly lower limb, it is fantastic news that this new device will offer those with reduced walking ability a hitherto missing personalised prescription for improved wellbeing."

AGILE’s industry partner, Glasgow-based PAL Technologies, has a track record of providing clinical measurement tools for researchers worldwide who quantify physical behaviours, such as sitting, standing and 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."

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