Laser-emitting shoes and a Meccano-style walking aid kit are just two of the inventions being developed by companies in London and the south east that could help people stay independent for longer as they get older or develop debilitating illnesses, according to Design Council and MedCity, the Mayor of London’s life sciences promotional organisation

A range of the best medical technologies, including a glove that steadies the hand of people with Parkinson’s, and an easy to use plug and socket designed for people with limited grip, were showcased at the inaugural MedTechSouthEast pitching event at the Royal College of General Practitioners last night .

A judging panel led by Roger Highfield, science journalist, broadcaster and Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum, selected 10 winners who will now receive exclusive mentoring from some of Design Council’s leading Design Associates to develop and commercialise their products.

The 10 winning MedTechSouthEast companies are:

Dermaspray – a spray-on medication reducing inflammation and pain in people with arthritis, while avoiding the side-effects of oral tablets
Dolman Plug & Socket – a plug and socket system that can be pushed in or removed with little effort designed for people with poor grip
Esher’s Maternity & Menstrual Solutions – disposable leak-proof absorbent briefs to for women during periods or after childbirth
Evolvable Walking Aid Kit – a ‘build it yourself’ walking aid kit to overcome to lack of adaptability in walking frames, crutches or sticks as people’s needs change or children grow
GyroGear – gyroscope and sensor technology in a glove to combat hand tremor in people with conditions such as Parkinson’s
HeliconLiveLong – online tool to help interdisciplinary care teams manage the health of elderly people with multiple conditions more effectively and easily
Integro Smart Box – a system to manage the need to take multiple drugs that sends an alert to family or carers via text or email when medication is late or missed
Path Finder – shoes that incorporate laser and sensor technology to emit lines ahead as users walk to tackle ‘freezing of gait’ in people with Parkinson’s
Speak Set – video calling via the TV to help elderly people easily keep in touch with caregivers and family
Strawz – fixed-dose medicine dispenser to ensure accurate doses

Speaking at the event for innovative up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs, John Mathers, Chief Executive of Design Council, said:

“Technology can be a vital tool in retaining our quality of life as we get older. MedTechSouthEast has highlighted the tech talent we have in Britain, and we need to increase the convergence of tech and design to create usable, accessible, human-centred devices and systems that will help us all retain our quality of life as we age. This programme will teach our winners how the application of design can develop and shape their ideas to become practical products that people want as much as they need. It’s the combination of innovation and design that creates technology which can truly revolutionise people’s lives, as well as help save money for our public services.”

Congratulating the winners, MedCity Executive Chair Dr Eliot Foster said:

“What stands out is the variety, quality and creativity of medtech entrepreneurs who are innovating to tackle the everyday challenges of life. It’s striking that in so many cases, the product has been developed in response to direct experience – whether that’s seeing loved ones struggle with a condition or through working with patients. These insights are incredibly important and highlight the needs to involve users in medical innovation right from the start, because patients and their carers are the people who understand their needs the best.”

James Freeston, Marketing Director, AXA PPP healthcare, says:

“We are excited to be working with MedCity and the Design Council on this important initiative to encourage the development of new technology to help people live more independent lives.

“Nothing could be more personal than your own health. We at AXA PPP healthcare, alongside our Health Tech & You partners, 2020health and The Design Museum, believe personal health technology takes us into a new age, giving more control to people so that they can live healthier and more active lives.

“We would like to congratulate the ten winning finalists and are pleased to announce they will be entered into the ‘Independent Living Award’ category as part of the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards 2016.”

MedTechSouthEast has been designed for medtech entrepreneurs to help them develop effective, usable and commercially successful health technologies that can support older people or those with debilitating medical conditions to lead more independent lives. The 10 winners will take part in an intensive accelerator programme led by design experts and medtech industry leaders. They will also be entered automatically into the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards 2016 – an initiative that aims to recognise, celebrate and showcase the best in personal health technology innovations.

The MedTechSouthEast accelerator programme will give teams a practical, thorough understanding of how to use design to fast-track the commercialisation of their innovations. They will learn how to better plan, prototype and effectively communicate their products, maximising impact and managing risks.