‘Limbs Alive’ Lifts Healthcare Award

Written by admin on December 9th, 2010

A series of specially designed video games which can be played by children with cerebral palsy scooped first prize in last night’s (May 7th) Bright Ideas in Health Awards 2009 ceremony.

Unable to play on modern consoles due to impaired movement, the ‘Limbs Alive’ games use wireless controls to allow the children to play video games.

As well as giving hours of enjoyment, the activity has been found to have therapeutic benefits repairing and improving movement in impaired limbs.

Developed by a team from Newcastle University in conjunction with The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the suite of games won £2500 in last night’s Awards staged at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead.

Janice Pearse, Research Occupational Therapist and member of the Developmental Neuroscience Group at Newcastle University: said

“Most of the commercially available games are just too fast and complex for some children with limbs affected by cerebral palsy. We recognised there was an opportunity to work on making them accessible to more people.

“For 18 months we have been working with game developer Giordano Ferdinandi and now have a suite of games that the children love and which is helping them with their motor skills.

“We are receiving ongoing financial support from The Children’s Foundation and are looking to create an extended package of games which motivate the kids are fun to play.”

The awards are organised by the NHS Innovations North team at technology transfer company RTC North and showcase the most exciting new services and devices developed by employees in the region’s NHS Trusts.

Backed by the region’s NHS Trusts, this year’s awards are sponsored by Newcastle Science City, NHS North East, Cels and HealthConnect, One NorthEast, UDL Patent Attorneys, Marks and Clerks Patent Attorneys, Hargreaves Elsworth Patent Attorneys, Watson Burton LLP, DLAB at The Institute of Design Innovation, Teesside University and The Centre for Design Research at Northumbria University.

Professor Sir Miles Irving, Chairman of NHS Innovations North, said:

“It has been another year of outstanding success in the search for new ways of improving our National Health Service.

“Innovation in healthcare covers a wide variety of activity, from laboratory research to the vast potential for innovation that lies in the minds of those that work at the front end, delivering NHS services.

“This year has seen a surge in entries which reflects the appreciation amongst staff that their ideas, whether a new device or a better way of delivering a service, are of relevance and will be taken seriously.”

“So groundbreaking have been many of the submissions we received this year that the judging panel had difficulty in honing down on ten entries to receive awards.”

NHS Innovations North is one of a network of Innovation hubs across the UK set up to help make the most of new ideas within NHS Trusts and improve healthcare. Delivered in the North East by RTC North, the project will benefit from £800,501 of European Union investment from the ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, managed by regional development agency One North East.

The ERDF programme is bringing over £250m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.