Students win healthcare Oscar
Press release issued: 21 June 2007
An innovative nurse call system for people with minimal hand movement, developed by two Bristol University students, has won a prestigious healthcare accolade at the 2007 Medical Futures Innovation Awards. The system won awards for both the Best Patient Independence Innovation and Bone and Joint Innovation.
The Medical Future Innovation Awards are a national showcase of clinical and commercial excellence. The awards help encourage, support and reward new ideas and advancements in healthcare that can improve people’s lives.
The system was initially developed to help an engineer from Bristol who was left paralysed from an accident ten years ago. He felt helpless during his hospital stay because he was unable to use his hands to call the nurse.
Ian Anderson and Paul Duff both postgraduates studying Computer Science at the University of Bristol joined forces to develop Sensagest®, a state of the art nurse call system that can be activated by tiny movements on a fabric pad.
Sensagest replaces existing nurse call systems with an intelligent touch-sensitive fabric panel. Instead of pressing a button, the user enacts a simple gesture upon the panel, for example, stroking from one side to the other, or tapping the panel. Wearable computing technology is used to decode the gesture and relay a message to a paging device carried by a designated member of staff. It also has the ability to control devices situated around the bedside.
Ian Anderson, Chief Executive Office of Pure Ability, said, “We are proud that Sensagest has come first in this category. We hope to develop our technology to be able to provide new solutions that will bring independence to its users both in hospital and in their homes.”
After forming the company Pure Ability Ltd, Ian Anderson, Paul Duff, Andy Flook and Chris Groves entered their business plan in the University of Bristol’s New Enterprise Competition in 2006 and secured the first prize, winning £15,000 to develop their product further.
The awards ceremony took place at a gala dinner, hosted by Joanna Lumley and Rory Bremner in the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 14 June. Other attendees included Jane Asher, Gerald Scarfe, Michael Burke and Baroness Susan Greenfield.