ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This fall, 20 University of New Mexico graduate students are designing new rehabilitation devices to help patients recover from things like strokes, trauma and other injuries.
Four student teams are designing four different products: new exoskeletons for post-operative rehabilitation; flexible sockets for lower-extremity prothesis to allow patients to begin physical therapy earlier; tools to eliminate or reduce pressure ulcers for immobile patients in beds or wheelchairs; and a mobile system for immediate diagnosis of concussions.
The Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office, will help with patent protection and potential commercialization once the designs are complete at the end of the semester. And in December, the teams will compete for $50,000 in funding to build a prototype of their design, with judges from the UNM Health Sciences Center, the School of Engineering, STC and the business community.
It’s all part of the university’s Biodesign course, begun three years ago as a partnership between Health Sciences and the engineering school to give students hands-on training in innovation and design that applies engineering skills to medical problems, said Christina Salas, an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation with a joint appointment in mechanical engineering.