Earlier this year, Footfalls & Heartbeats (UK) Limited was commissioned to undertake a project for KOB, the world’s leading manufacturer of bandages and fabrics, to monitor the success of compression therapy.
During a 6-month project, Footfalls & Heartbeats will develop the manufacturing process for a smart bandage that will transform the treatment for patients suffering with venous leg ulcers and needing compression therapy.
Compression therapy helps to reactivate the main venous system, an integral part of the cardiovascular system, to ensure veins are emptied and blood continues to circulate back to the heart.
Venous leg ulcers are estimated to affect around 1 in 500 people in the UK alone, although they become much more common with age and it's estimated that around 1 in 50 people over the age of 80 has one. It’s often treated with compression therapy but it’s currently quite difficult for medics to monitor the level of compression required.
Footfalls & Heartbeats is developing a bandage that can measure the level of pressure applied and convey information to medical staff to ensure correct application techniques. The technology brings a new level of sophistication to smart textiles through the integration of smart fibres into the textile structure.
The smart bandage will be able to measure the pressure applied by the compression bandage itself, “the textile is the sensor”.™ It will enable the live monitoring of the compression therapy treatment, providing a live data-feed to nurses (or patients themselves) so that they can understand how well the bandage has been applied and how successful the therapy is.
KOB partnered with Footfalls due to their track record in provision of technical solutions for smart textiles and specifically the use of smart fibres in the textile to measure pressure. They also wanted the project to be more than a simple feasibility study.
Ferdinand Tamoué, Product Management & Innovation, Compression Therapy, KOB says: “We have previously worked with research institutions who have employed very long research timescales. Footfalls and Heartbeats’ lean approach offers a much shorter development time, providing real solutions quickly. Getting a working prototype in just 6-months is a very impressive proposition.”
Footfalls & Heartbeats is developing business relationships with a number of corporate customers around the world. Simon McMaster, Founder of Footfalls & Heartbeats says, “We are particularly pleased to be working with KOB as their bandages and multilayer systems for compression therapy are known for setting the market standard in terms of comfort but also therapeutic effect, and they significantly increase patients’ quality of life.”
Footfalls & Heartbeats is actively seeking new commercial partnerships in its market application areas of interest – including but not exclusive to health, sports, rehabilitation, aged care, aerospace and automobile industries.