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12 June 2008 PR 08/79

Grant enables new wrist-splint device to move to clinical trials

A new device that offers a more effective method of splinting for wrist fractures, devised by a Loughborough University designer and a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, has been awarded a grant from the Audi Design Foundation.

The grant of £19,840 will now allow Loughborough lecturer George Torrens and John Dooley from Hillingdon Hospital to produce a prototype of the device, known as Fit-Splint, and enable an initial series of clinical trials to begin in early 2009. 


George Torrens (L) and Dr Ian Campbell.

Records from one hospital show that a peak figure of 94 patients with wrist fractures were treated in one day over the winter period in 1992-93, which demonstrates that clinicians are often put under huge pressure to deliver quality treatments in a very short space of time.  The application of existing plasters often needs two clinicians and the treatments require the skilful realignment of the fracture. The Fit-Splint simplifies the whole process, enabling just one clinician to fit the supporting bracing and the record, monitor and alter their initial settings. 
  
“We are very happy that the Foundation has given us this opportunity to move our idea through this next critical stage and prove the technology for the new splint, and also to gain further investment,” said George Torrens, one of the designers.

The grant has been awarded under the Audi Design Foundation’s ‘Designs for Life’ programme, which was developed to support exceptional designers by funding the development of physical prototypes, which support sustainable and inclusive design.

The Audi Design Foundation is an independent registered charity, whose mission is to encourage designers to develop ideas that create a positive change in people’s lives.

Rebecca Myrie, Grants and New Projects Manager for the Audi Design Foundation, says:  “We are delighted to award this grant to this very deserving design.  We hope to enable, guide and inspire the talented designers of today, while changing or saving the lives of many.  In the last 11 years, we have awarded more than £800,000 in grants to young designers.”

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Notes to editors:

  1. The team working on Fit-Splint are:
    From Loughborough University – George Torrens, Dr Ian Campbell, Dr Richard Bibb, and Dr Ian Graham
    From Hillingdon Hospital – John Dooley.

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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