As an electronic device development and manufacturing company (EMS), we operate in a variety of industries, from medical to consumer electronics, supported by our certifications.
Our services range from design and engineering to mass production. In this way we are able to offer support to every company, OEM or startup, during the entire life cycle of their projects.
In this article we provide an example of engineering and prototyping in the medical field.
Rehab of somatic sensation and related deficit of motor control in hands and arms
The Bi-Manu-Trainer, developed in partnership with Konplan for Reha Stim, supports patients with sensory-motor and cognitive impairment during rehabilitation. It provides interactive uni- and bimanual training exercises with focus on visuomotor finger, hand and arm coordination using Virtual Reality based games and sophisticated sensor technology. The game-based learning approach leads to high patient motivation resulting in higher training intensity.
Challenging therapeutic training games lead to high patient motivation and ensure a long-lasting patient adherence. This approach leads to an up to three times higher intensity compared to conventional therapy.
The intuitive software is easy-to-use for every patient and visualizes the training success. It thus supports therapists with a direct feedback to the patient. The compact design and simple setup of the Bi-Manu-Trainer allows an independent training of patients, saving time for therapists.
A force sensor allows the therapy to focus on finger sensitivity and force. It supports the training of ADL relevant functional tasks, e.g. the paretic arm supports the healthy arm’s task performance (e.g. when cutting vegetables etc.).
Developing a Device to Give the Gift of Speech Back
This development concerns a "speaking" glove, which allows communication to patients with compromised or absent communication ability.
We started with the aim of helping a person who had difficulty expressing himself after a health problem, without having to use blackboards sticky notes, pen&paper or other devices, which are challenging for the patient and inefficient in daily life.
The development of a smart glove is the most suitable tool from a user experience point of view and also allows the development of future features.
Today the ageing of the population confronts us with tough challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining all the psychophysical faculties. However, we are surrounded by technological devices that, only fifteen years ago, were impossible to imagine.
Often we overlook the many applications that technology can have, especially those based on the fusion of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Yet, using the basics of electronics together with an everyday device, such as a smartphone, it is possible to create extremely functional and innovative solutions.
The idea is to use a glove that, through simple gestures, is able to reproduce the letters and words, in order to allow the patient to speak normally, with any interlocutor.
We therefore faced the following challenges:
- Replace the use of handwriting, as a means of communication, because it is uncomfortable, slow and ineffective, especially in situations where there are no adequate tools to write on (which is very common in everyday life);
- Have the characteristics of portability and mobility. The ability to communicate via smart glove must be independent of where you are;
- To be easy to understand for any interlocutor, simulating as precisely as possible a natural communication.
Based on these objectives, we developed an intuitive keyboard with different combinations and applied it to a glove. In this way, communication is managed through the movement of the fingers themselves. Although at first glance it seems complicated, actually, with little practice, using such a device becomes very natural.
The keyboard is used directly through all the fingers and the contacts have been inserted to facilitate ergonomics and usability in everyday life.
A Bluetooth connection is used to transmit the data, which is easy to manage, to integrate and already available to anyone, thanks to the daily use in the car or with the smartphone.
Designed in this way, the glove becomes almost an extension of the patient's mind, fast, comfortably usable in every situation and configurable through an intuitive smartphone interface (an application).
From the prototyping phase we then moved on to actual production. In this step, our development department focuses on the changes needed for large-scale release, while keeping an eye on maintaining competitive costs. For the glove, we have concentrated ourselves on improving ergonomics, portability and ease of handling and maintenance.
Can Hemargroup Help Me Prototype My Devices?
Absolutely. It is possible to start with a concrete problem (in this case helping patients to communicate) and solve it using our electronic design know-how.
If you are planning to launch a product, we are able to turn your idea into reality, from the development and production phase to the actual realization, not only for the electronic part itself (the assembly of the circuits, the positioning of the sensors, the software) but also for the consulting part during the assembly and after-sales phase.
Our customers often come with an idea in mind and get an innovative product at the end, ready to be sold.
Ready to go? Contact us at the following link to receive a quote: