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Wearable tech could help arm movement in stroke survivors

High-tech Powerbead device set to support moderate to severe impairments

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A first-of-its-kind wearable device is being developed which could assist stroke survivors to recover movement in their arm. 

The PowerBead device has been created by KnitRegen, a next-generation medTech company which makes wearable technologies to support recovery from stroke or brain injury.

Smart textiles are used to deliver state-of-the-art muscle stimulation that allows patients to continue their recovery outside of therapy sessions.

The device could provide a new treatment for those with moderate-to-severe impairments to recover arm movement.

Statistics show that up to 50 per cent of survivors experience this level of disability. 

Early evidence from a study of 16 stroke survivors showed that the PowerBead can artificially activate muscles in the hand and arms.

The company plans to test the long-term recovery effects of the device in stoke survivors to see how their strength and movement improves over time.

Information collected from this study will be used to create a final prototype ready for independent clinical testing.

CPI worked with KnitRegen to develop its prototype, making the device wearable around the wrist and integrating a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth connectivity.

The collaboration with KnitRegen addressed medical safety requirements and made the device more energy efficient by selecting the correct components for the design.

Glenn Aitchison, electronics and mechanical manager at CPI, said: “We are delighted to have worked with KnitRegen to help develop this state-of-the-art technology proof of concept. 

“This device has the potential to provide life-changing treatment for people who have moderate-to-severe impairments in their arm after suffering from a stroke.

“CPI are committed to helping companies like KnitRegen develop their products across healthcare and medical devices, following clear guidelines and regulations to reduce risk and deliver on the client’s needs. 

“We are looking forward to helping KnitRegen on their path towards clinical trials for this device.”

Dr Laura Salisbury, director and CEO at KnitRegen Ltd, said: “We have some really exciting work on the horizon that could see many stroke survivors benefit from our technology. 

“Working with CPI has enabled us to develop our control board and power supply from our previous test prototype. 

“This means we can travel to more stroke survivors across the UK to enable them to take part in our testing – a really important step because we want to ensure our device is optimised to meet the needs of as many people with diverse backgrounds and mobility issues as possible.”

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