The Massachusetts state government has awarded a new grant of $3m to Harvard University and Boston University to develop new robotics and wearable technologies.
Researchers at the universities aim to improve the lives of individuals with neuro-motor impairment, as well as those who want to reach specific fitness goals, by developing new diagnostic, rehabilitation and assistive devices.
The project, which will be led by Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), aims to boost the commercialisation of advanced wearable and med tech devices.
It involves a partnership with Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, along with industry partners that aim to bring the innovations to market.
The funding from the state government will help support research projects, including ankle device development for home or community-based gait training after stroke and lower limb neuroprosthesis for electrical stimulation of muscles.
The research projects will also include the development of new sensing and diagnostic approaches for high-dose/high-frequency rehab at home, along with wearable sensors and algorithms for the evaluation of movement and strength by medical and fitness professionals.
These products will be ready for product-market testing in two years.
SEAS dean Francis Doyle III said: “This collaboration between government, academia and our state’s robotics sector positions us to push the frontiers of knowledge, create new technologies, and most importantly, deliver life-changing solutions to patients.”
The grant will be combined with the existing resources and support a $6m effort to equip Harvard facilities with the required infrastructure for the development and evaluation of wearable product prototypes.
The project will help to drive new prototypes into commercial products with support from Harvard’s Office of Technology Development and aligned industry partners.