2021 Challenges

Last Year's Challenges Were From All Over the Country!

A better shrinker sock for post-amputation recovery

Challenger: Maggie

Location: Leamington Spa

Description: “I have had my right leg amputated below the knee twice, and have recently had further surgery. Each time, the post-op period involves wearing shrinker socks to keep the swelling down. These are tight compression socks that have to be pulled on over stitches/staples and really sore flesh, and are incredibly painful to pull on. The liner that I use for my prosthetic is cushioned, tight and easy to get on, but isn’t breathable so can’t be used as a shrinker sock. Surely it must be possible to design a roll-on shrinker that is breathable, compressive and much less painful to get on. This would benefit many people, not just me.”

French horn stand

Challenger: Chris

Location: Newcastle

Description: “I’ve been  playing the French horn all my life. I’ve been very fortunate in having enough work to survive on. I suffer from a neuropathy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), which affects hands and feet, and so I’m a double amputee now,

which is something i elected to have done 12  years ago. My hands are also now deteriorating. I took up this horn at the age of 11 and it’s the only instrument I could really still be playing because I wouldn’t be able to play a violin or a woodwind instrument, but as I’ve just got the three valves to operate here, I’m still in the game, I think! and so  long as I can carry on playing chromatic scales accurately, I’m still in the game! The horn is a lopsided instrument, so I have to support it with one hand and operate the three valves with the other hand. I have extensive deterioration in the bone and some muscles have gone, which is a fairly standard deterioration of the neuropathy.

This creates a problem with holding the instrument and operating the valves (even though I now have the lightest instrument i can get), so I would like a solution to support the weight of the horn.”

Dog lead attachment mechanism

Challenger: Caroline

Location: Bedford

Description: “I became a quadruple amputee last year due to Covid and sepsis. We have just been accepted as Pets as Therapy volunteers and I hope to take my border collie, Duke, to schools and to the hospital which saved my life. I can walk him once he is attached to my wheelchair, but I need a solution so I can independently attach his lead.”

Mechanical therapy device for nerve damage rehab 

Challenger: Pauline

Location: Berkshire

Description: Following a triple fracture to the left humerus, Pauline experienced total numbness in the left hand and wrist drop, which was found to be due to a brachial plexus injury, particularly to the ulnar nerve. She has had hand physiotherapy, including simple stretching exercises and mirror therapy (in the hope that the brain would try to force the left hand to emulate what the right was doing – see video). Alongside two rounds of surgery, these have brought some improvement, but there is still little sensation or movement in the ring and little fingers.

The lack of sensation means that the exercises carry a risk of further damage if fingers become trapped or overextended.

Pauline would like to create a mechanical solution that exercises the fingers safely by mirroring the movement of the healthy hand, thus combining the benefits of physio and mirror therapy.

Stress indicator wristband for people with sensory processing disorders

Challengers: Malcolm, Duncan and Tom

Location: South Bucks

Description: Malcolm, Duncan and Tom volunteer for Remap, and Tom has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They previously designed a prototype device to help people with sensory processing disorders, often associated with ASD. When people with ASD experience sensory overload, they may stop communicating. Carers can miss the signs or even think they are being uncooperative, when in fact they are in severe distress. The purpose of the device is to measure stress levels and provide a clear indication to carers that the wearer is experiencing distress so they can respond appropriately. They need help in taking the device from a basic prototype to a finished device that can be manufactured in the hundreds.

Self-propelling pressure relief chair

Challenger: Beryl

Location: Sheffield

Description: I have had MS for nearly 30 years. I have a large motorised wheelchair that has height and tilt adjustment. Despite years of trying different cushions, etc I suffer from sores (which can result in months confined to bed). I now have a new chair which has a mains-powered air cushion, which is much better. However, this only has very small wheels for the purpose of moving it from room to room when no-one is sat in it. This means that once I have transferred into the chair, I’m stuck in that location until someone can help me transfer back to the wheelchair. The challenge would be to provide independent mobility by making it possible for me to move this new chair. This could be taking the top of the chair and attaching it to the base of the motorised wheelchair. Or it could be to retrofit a motor and controls to the new chair. Or it might be something else completely. One consideration is that these chairs have not been purchased privately – so it may require permission to modify them (which is possibly common in cases like this).

Custom phone holder for E-motion wheelchair

Location: Mansfield

Description: The challenger has a self-propelling wheelchair, which has E-Motion powered wheels. She has been unable to find a suitable mobile phone holder that fits to the frame of her wheelchair, and that she can also access easily to remove her phone. She does have some limited functional movement in her hands, but the standard holders are too difficult for her to get her phone in and out of quickly and easily and she often drops her phone, so the holder needs to be able to accommodate her phone in its case. She doesn’t want her phone visible when she is self propelling or moving around but does like to be independent in accessing it when required.