What started as a family injury has turned into a rehabilitation game-changer receiving global attention.
The Prohab Connected Healthcare Device, the brainchild of physiotherapist Lyndon Huf, is an innovative rehabilitation device that accurately measures the force-generating capability of an individual’s muscle, in order to guide and personalise prescription of exercise and rehabilitation programs .
Mr Huf first had the idea for the new device after his mother experienced an injury whilst on holiday.
“Whilst on holiday, my mum had a fall that resulted in her tearing a rotator cuff tendon in her shoulder. As a physiotherapist myself, she asked me if I could provide any advice. With my parents living interstate, I had no way of knowing how much rehabilitation she was doing, so I created a prototype to measure the effectiveness of each exercise and make better decisions about her exercise dose.
“That’s how we came up with the Prohab concept, where people can use the device to measure exercise doses and confirm the best exercise regime tailored precisely to an individual.”
Whilst Lyndon had extensive experience in physiotherapy, he needed engineering and development support to make his innovative idea a reality.
In late 2016, Prohab (then known as Maction), turned to the Medical Device Partnering Program to design and build a functional prototype suitable for initial end-user trials, with assistance from Flinders University biomedical engineers.
The device aims to motivate patients recovering from injury or surgery, by seamlessly gathering exercise data and keeping track of real-time progress, assisting medical professionals to make better and more tailored treatment recommendations.
MDPP Director Professor Karen Reynolds says “We know that arming patients with visual feedback in real time helps improve compliance with rehabilitation exercises, so this simple idea could have a big impact on the health and quality of life for many people following surgery or injury”.
Mr Huf said “The MDPP’s technical expertise was outstanding. The opportunity to bring research and technical expertise to bear on an early-stage commercial project is tremendous. The MDPP helps to take concepts into reality in a really innovative way,” Mr Huf says.
Through this process, the MDPP pulled together 10 experts from physiotherapy, rehabilitation engineering, product design, commercialisation and manufacturing, to discuss the product and inform the MDPP research and development project.
“These connections are so valuable and ended up having a profound impact on the future direction of the Prohab device” said Mr Huf.
It was at this MDPP workshop where Mr Huf was introduced to Flinders University’s Associate Professor in Product Design, Sandy Walker.
Associate Professor Walker saw merit in the product and came up with some early conceptual user centered design proposals to present to Prohab and from there, became an integral member of the Prohab design team.
“It’s a really exciting product because it is so simple, yet has a wide range of applications and users” says Associate Professor Walker.
In July 2019, Prohab were awarded Australia’s coveted Good Design Award for Design Excellence in the medical and scientific category, rubbing shoulders with global innovators such as Philips and ResMed.
Located within Flinders University’s eNVIsion incubator space at the Tonsley Precinct, Prohab are working with South Australian company to manufacture their device and are looking at investment opportunities to execute the next stages of their business.