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Assisted finger orthosis wins innovation award hands down

Media release

A 3D printable hand exoskeleton earned a round of applause today at the Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards, netting its inventors $15,000 and valuable commercialisation assistance.

Mechatronics engineering lecturer and researcher Dr Lei Cui, mechatronics engineering student Anthony Phan, Dean Research and Graduate Studies Health Sciences Professor Garry Allison, occupational therapy clinical/professional fellow David Parsons and Vice Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry

The Assisted Finger Orthosis project was developed by mechatronics engineering lecturer and researcher Dr Lei Cui, mechatronics engineering students Anthony Phan and Otto Seyfarth, Dean Research and Graduate Studies Health Sciences Professor Garry Allison, occupational therapy clinical/professional fellow David Parsons and Professor Stelarc from the Alternate Anatomies Laboratory at Curtin University.

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Dr Cui said the finger orthosis project is the simplest design that can achieve active movement of all three finger joints from a single actuator or driver.

“‘Robotic exoskeletons can protect a patient’s tendons while minimising the risk of complications after hand tendon surgery,” Dr Cui said.

“A tailor made exoskeleton that fits an individual’s hand perfectly will define the future of hand rehabilitation”.

The Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards were established in 2007 to celebrate the commercialisation efforts of Curtin staff and students. The competition is now a focal point of the innovation calendar in Western Australia.

Director of Curtin’s Office of IP Commercialisation Rohan McDougall said one of the best ways for universities to improve commercial outcomes was to conduct world-class research.

“The research recognised by today’s awards demonstrates a growing recognition of Curtin as a quality research institution through our constant improvement in global university rankings,” Mr McDougall said.

Director of Curtin’s Office of IP Commercialisation Rohan McDougall

This year’s competition attracted a record 46 applications from across the University with 12 applicants shortlisted to present to a panel of judges looking at novelty, level of development, market potential and competitive advantage.

Runner-up prizes of $5000 each were awarded to the following innovators:

Innovation in Business: Rate My Space – Dr Vanessa Rauland and Dr Samantha Hall

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Innovation in Health Sciences: Protein Recovery from Whey – Dr Tuna Dincer, Dr Corinne Vallet and Professor Vijay Jayasena

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Innovation in Education: Knowledge Unlatched – Associate Professor Lucy Montgomery and Frances Pinter

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Innovation in Science and Engineering (also received $2000 consulting services from Proxima Consulting for Business): Top Dump: Mine Waste Management Optimisation – Professor Erkan Topal, Yu Li and Zhao Fu

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The awards were presented today at Fraser’s State Reception Centre at Kings Park.