Students invent device for injured shoulders

SGH senior principal physiotherapist Jennifer Liaw demonstrating with a volunteer how the shoulder rehabilitation device is used.
PHOTO: Students invent device for injured shoulders

SINGAPORE - Four students were tasked with creating a device to help patients recovering from shoulder injuries as part of their final-year project at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

They came up with a portable exercise machine that patients can use to rebuild their strength by pushing or pulling a handle along a sloped surface, against adjustable levels of resistance created by magnets.

Now, three years later, their work is about to be commercialised and could go on to sell thousands of units worldwide.

Local technology company Nextan will sell it in September.

Said its managing director Sean Tan: "Similar devices are several hundreds of kilograms. We see potential for it in Europe, Japan and China."

Ngee Ann Polytechnic and SingHealth hold a joint patent for the prototype. Former mechanical engineering student Lim Ding Yan, 22, created it with course mates Ho Hock Soon, 25, Yeap Jun Ann and Koh Pei Xin, both 23, in consultation with the Singapore General Hospital's (SGH) physiotherapy department.

Patients can rest their forearm on a platform which rotates left and right to exercise their shoulders.

The machine's surface can also be tilted between 30 and 75 degrees.

"We reach out to get things at these angles, so the machine provides appropriate training to help patients regain daily functions," said group director of SingHealth Group Allied Health Celia Tan.

SGH hopes to use the device, or rent it out to patients, three months later. SingHealth and Ngee Ann Polytechnic signed a five-year memorandum to collaborate on health-care projects in the future.

This article was first published on June 18, 2014.
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