Over 500 million people worldwide live with arm or hand disability, but few receive the care they need. Currently, the most effective intervention to aid long-term recovery and independence following movement impairment is physical therapy. However, these therapist-led interventions are extremely resource heavy and vastly underperformed. Recovering arm function is number one priority for disabled subjects to improve their quality of life, and finding new solutions that can help achieve this is of high priority.
The London, UK-based startup gripAble is developing a low-cost, highly motivating technology to provide mobile rehabilitation for individuals with arm disability. Their novel technology consists of a joystick-like device, a digital handgrip with patented force sensors that measure grip flexion and extension, as well as whole arm movements. The device wirelessly interacts with specially designed app-based therapy games, which are designed to be accessible to all ages and levels of cognitive function. In addition, each game level is highly motivating and automatically adopt to the ability of each individual.
Using novel technology to find new ways to improve rehabilitation is important to alleviate the labor-intensive aspects of hand-on conventional therapy. gripAble does not employ gamification to replace physiotherapy, but to increase access and adherence, and improve efficiency of rehabilitation. The technology provide meaningful tasks, greater intensity of practice, and stimulate an engaging environment for the user no matter what level of ability they are. The technology has been specifically designed to be portable and easy-to-use in any environment, whether it is at the hospital or at home, while giving specialists the opportunity to closely follow the recovery progress remotely. This means they can interfere when needed and focus their resources on patients that struggle.
There is a growing global market for rehabilitative products and gripAble is an innovative solution that poses a significant opportunity. The portable nature and relative low cost of the technology mean that more people will have access to recovery programs, even in rural settings with little access to therapists. gripAble present a cost-effective solution that put the patient in focus, and the personalized and engaging technology help them recover arm function and improve quality of life.
The innovative startup and technology has previously won NHS Innovation Prize and UK Stroke Association Prize. In addition, the startup came runners-up in the global OneStart 2016, world’s largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator program, cultivating early-stage entrepreneurship among young and disruptive healthcare innovators. The technology has gotten significant interest, and the startup has secured pre-orders from a private rehabilitation center in London. They are currently seeking funding with an aim to launch in Q3 2017.