Research highlights: new therapeutic gloves for stroke patients
Textile research and manufacturers of special textile fibers and textile-based primary products are actively involved in the regeneration of organs, tissues and bones. Health protection as an economic mega trend opens the floodgates for high-tech material textiles and their use in medicine and health. One interesting example:„tipstim®“ , a novel textile-based product for the treatment of stroke patients. The handling of this therapeutic aid which can be used for one in every three of the yearly 270.000 new stroke patients in Germany is quite simple: the patient puts the sensor glove on, connects it to the pulse transmitter and starts the therapy by his own without the need of medical attendance. Plastic processes are directly activated in the pertaining brain regions controlling the hands by a sensitive stimulation of the finger tips. This innovative therapy which saves long-lasting training processes opens up new efficient and cost-saving ways offering to the patient a convenient neuro-rehabilitative therapy for the improvement of sensomotor deficits.
The prototype of the Smart textile glove for special use in the stroke patients’ therapy has been developed in 2008 at the Thüringen-Vogtland research institute at Greiz (Germany) within the scope of a project fostered by German Federal Ministry of Economics called “actuated textile electrodes based on conductive yarns enabling the selective stimulation of single muscles and/or muscle groups”. After a nine years’ lead time and application-oriented research which had started in 2001 by the creation of sensoric textile fibers, the developers could celebrate its first public success by landing the award for innovation granted by the association textil+mode in the category of technical textiles.
At that time Oliver Bona assumed control of Bosana Medizintechnik GmbH. In retrospect, he characterizes the pre-clinical tests and the clinical studies that took three to four, years as extremely time-consuming and cost-intensive for a small and medium-sized company. An additional challenge consisted in the recruitment of two groups of patients having identical degrees of impairment. In addition, the further development of the stimulation glove (tipstim® glove) took remarkably longer time than planned. The development of the final marketable version took more than two-and-a-half years.