£1.25m Backing for Liverpool Neuromuscular Disease Smart Body Suit
People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund awards £1.25m for the development of a smart body suit for neuromuscular disease.
00:27 10 June 2022
People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund has awarded £1.25m to the University of Liverpool to design a transformative assistive device for children and young people with progressive neuromuscular diseases.
Dr Farnaz Nickpour and her team at The Inclusionaries Lab at the University have partnered with the Duchenne UK and Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK to develop a suit, which would be the first of its kind in the world, to help disabled teenagers and young people use their arms and upper body.
Dr Farnaz Nickpour, director of The Inclusionaries Lab said: "This is a unique and timely opportunity to address a long-term ‘wicked problem’ in the design and commercialisation of impactful and desirable solutions for important parts of our society currently disserved by innovation.
“Good design is people-centred and technology-enabled, improves quality of life and actively contributes to a more fair and equitable society.
“Through our innovative collaboration with Duchenne UK and SMA UK charities, we want to ensure advanced inclusive and human-centred design principles are embedded in the SMART Suit, and moreover, make our interdisciplinary approach and processes in this project, accessible and applicable in many other areas similarly in need of better more systemic solutions."
Emily Reuben, CEO of Duchenne UK, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this transformative grant which will have a truly game changing impact on young lives.
“For people living with progressive conditions like DMD and SMA, losing upper body function means losing the ability to feed yourself, put your hand up in class, or hug your loved ones.
“Despite incredible technological progress elsewhere, this is a problem that has gone without true innovation in the last 30 years. Because of this, people living with upper-limb disability face barriers in work, education, and their social lives.
“With the help of this grant, we can finally change this. A huge thank you to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Dream Fund for enabling our dream project to become a reality.”