Rehab device earns students national innovation award

A team of RMIT engineering students have won the Telstra Innovation Challenge for a device that provides real-time feedback to home-based rehabilitation patients.

Team Laika at the Telstra Innovation Challenge held at Telstra Labs in Melbourne. Left to right: Aaron Duivenvoorden, Steven Korevaar, Jeremy Siaw and Timothy Scott

Teams across Australia were invited to build Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions in response to challenges in the health and wellness industry, as part of this year’s Telstra Innovation Challenge.

This year's challenge was in partnership with Bupa, which sought solutions that empowered individuals or healthcare professionals in health and wellness management, while embracing new and innovative technology.

Team Laika, comprising of four RMIT engineering students, was awarded the $10,000 University Stream award for their response to this year’s brief.

The Me-MG, a wearable Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback unit, was designed to empower users to exercise at home by giving them feedback on their level of muscle activation and movement extension through a number of on-body lights and a display screen.

One light indicated the degree of flex and the other light indicated the muscle activation; together providing an accurate measure of how well the patient is performing the exercise.

The device could be calibrated to the individual by a physiotherapist and accessed and updated remotely over a dashboard.

The data could then be reviewed and trends captured, ensuring greater visibility of patient progress towards their rehabilitation goal. 

Senior Lecturer Samuel Ippolito has mentored teams in the competition since 2015, consistently impressed by the calibre of work created each year.

“Competitions like the Telstra Innovation Challenge are a fantastic opportunity for students to not only network and meet potential employers but to also test their skills at being a tech entrepreneur and sell their idea,” he said.

“The competition gives students the opportunity to build a working prototype, explore the marketability of their solution and experience the riggers of pitching their idea to experts and potential investors. “

During the finals of the challenge, students were able to meet the sponsor representatives across a diverse range of industries, including Bupa, Microsoft, Cisco and Telstra Health.

Student Aaron Duivenvoorden said the Challenge tested the team’s ability to work under pressure while creating invaluable opportunities for networking and industry experience.

“This was an incredible opportunity to network,” he said.

“We made some very important connections here that are going to be very helpful as we begin the process of commercialising our solution."

Team Laika have engaged RMIT Activator, the University’s entrepreneurial hub helping current students, staff and researchers grow successful start-up ventures to explore the potential of bringing their product to market. 

Story: Maddy Pattison

05 July 2018

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05 July 2018

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