DkIT students Kyle McQuillan, John Tayag and David Mc Cabe traveled to EIT Health’s “iDays” European innovation competition in Vienna on November 24th to pitch their invention “PhysioLeap” alongside 24 other EU Universities.

i-Days promote health innovation among university students through dozens of one-day and two-day programmes held in academic institutions around Europe. Students from all academic areas receive an introduction to practical health innovation tools and compete in teams to tackle real-life health challenges posed by EIT Health, local organisations, private corporations or start-ups.

In October, DkIT’s  Connected Health and Wellbeing Cluster and the dConnect Digital Health Innovation Hub staged “iDays”, an innovation competition where teams of students collaborate to find a solution to a health problem.

Over 80 multi-disciplinary students participated on the day, and the winning team developed “PhysioLeap”, a robotic glove made from flexible material that is programmable from a smart app. One of the team members, David McCabe, lives with arthritis and says “I was one of the 70% of patients who didn’t complete my physio regime. If I had a comfortable, inconspicuous robotic glove, I would wear it more often and it could be programmed to do my physio for me anywhere, at college, at home, on the bus, literally anywhere. Splints that are currently available are unsightly and awkward so PhysioLeap gives the patient a comfortable, wearable robotic glove that even looks good!”

Using PhysioLeap’s smart app, Occupational or Physio Therapists will be able to programme a patient’s physio regime into the glove making it more convenient for arthritis patients to complete their physiotherapy plan and rehabilitate their arthritic hands. Therapists can prescribe a physio plan that suits the patient’s mobility, by increasing the speed, repetition and regularity of the physio exercises over time. The app tracks progress as the patient’s mobility improves and even sends notifications to congratulate the patient on complying with their physio regime, encouraging them to keep progressing.

dConnect and the Connected Health and Wellbeing Cluster both based offer mentoring, training and support to Digital Health startups, and they have been on hand to coach the PhysioLeap team. Breanndán Casey, Manager of the Cluster commented “local tech companies and health practitioners provided valuable support to all the students during I-Days, and have also been very generous with their advice and feedback in helping the PhysioLeap team prepare for the final. The AMTCE team supported the students with their prototype.”