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Six percent of children living in the UK are dealing with disabilities, meaning that a significant portion of the overall population is at risk of being marginalized from mainstream society, unable to access the tools that will provide them with economic and social security. In response, Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) Healthcare in the United Kingdom (UK) is funding nine companies who are innovating technologies to improve the quality of life of disabled children and adolescents, with a particular focus on those that will open pathways to self-sufficiency and full participation in society. Funded companies were also recognized for their emphasis on technologies that take into account a child’s growth and development.
The good news for children with disabilities in the UK is that a number of very impressive high-tech companies are focused on their needs and on developing real-time solutions. Nine proposals were chosen to be funded.
Here is a brief glimpse at five of the winners:
- Open Biotics is one of the pioneer tech companies in the world developing wearable 3D printed medical devices. They are developing a multi-grip robotic prosthesis for children with upper limb impairments. The prosthesis will address the complex needs of children and adolescents in the areas of physical, social and psychological development.
- Innerstrength is addressing the challenges of treating children with cystic fibrosis. Innovators are seeking to create a new model of care that will focus on self-management and thereby reduce the burden of care that is the natural byproduct of new life-saving therapies.
- ADI, Ltd. is developing a product called “Let Me Show U”, a digital platform that will securely store the health history and specific needs of children dealing with disabilities. ADI is addressing the challenges of getting caregivers up to speed as quickly as possible. The data files, which include audio, video and animations, can be accessed by the child’s family and caregivers via a special app that is compatible with a smartphone device or tablet.
- Project Andiamo, Ltd. is also utilizing 3D imaging technology to develop a unique back brace for children with cerebral palsy. The device addresses the problem of spinal deformities which is common in these kids. It will provide support for the torso, alleviating pain and discomfort, lessening the need for surgery, increasing the child’s mobility and enhancing quality of life.
- XIM, Ltd. is developing “Here’s Looking at you Kid”, a digital platform focused on children with asthma. The platform uses a mirror to measure a child’s heart rate, blood pressure, heart rate variability, SpO2 and respiratory rate, vitals that are critical to ensuring that a child with asthma gets the immediate medical attention he needs or alternatively, avoids an unnecessary trip to a medical center.
SBRI was founded in 2009. The concept was to develop a partnership between healthcare practitioners, businesses, technology companies and government agencies to create solutions to healthcare problems. SBRI provides 100% of funding to innovators who are addressing unmet health issues, and founders retain full ownership over their intellectual property. To date, SBRI has funded the creation of more than 30 new products and technologies and more than 100 companies.