A team of students from Jefferson University recently won the TREAT prize for the “Technology Most Likely to Become Commercially Available” at the 2018 RESNA Student Design Competition as well as second place overall. RESNA is the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America.
Abigail Balster, an Occupational Therapy masters student, and Jessica Monteleone and Zachary Samalonis, both undergraduates studying Industrial Design, developed GaitMate, a device designed to aid people with Parkinson’s Disease during moments of Freezing of Gait (FOG), an unpredictable symptom of the disease that can lead to falls and other complications. Using research that identified a combination of auditory rhythmic cueing (such as a metronome) and the visual cue of a laser light-generated line on the floor as an effective technique to regain cadence after a FOG episode, the team developed a belt-worn device that they hope to market to Parkinson’s specialists such as neurologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
As one of six finalists, the team won a trip to the RESNA annual conference to present their design. Along with the $500 TREAT prize money, the team is invited to utilize TREAT program resources to help accelerate development of both the technology and market potential of their device. “I was particularly impressed with the team’s ability to articulate their go-to-market strategy and their understanding of the regulatory pathway needed for FDA clearance,” states Liam Cornwall, TREAT Entrepreneur Fellow, representing TREAT as a competition judge.
For more information about the RESNA Student Design Competition finalists and prize winners visit: https://www.resna.org/student-design-competition.