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photo of Mylo product

Design student creates inclusive games controller to aid rehabilitation after being inspired by sister’s story

A student from Loughborough Design School has created a unique games controller designed for both rehabilitation and entertainment purposes as part of his final year project.

Billy Searle, who studies BA Industrial Design and Technology, is the creator of Mylo – a spherical games controller designed to help people with disabilities improve their mental fitness and dexterity levels.

The idea was inspired by Billy’s sister, Jess, who has cerebral palsy. Jess recently walked a mile to raise money for charity but, as a result, experienced extreme muscle spasms in her legs afterwards that significantly limited her physical ability.

Billy came up with the concept of Mylo as a solution to help people like Jess improve muscle memory and ultimately overcome barriers and become more independent.

Mylo has features that include a spinning dial, a microphone, speakers, light sensors and illuminated buttons to create a fun and interactive experience, whilst also improving the user’s motor skills, the speed in which they process information and also their hand-eye coordination.

The product connects to an app that has a series of games, helping users to replicate real-world situations such as turning a tap on or opening a jar to improve their muscle memory.

This differs from other games controllers which encourage the user to focus on the screen, rather than the physical interaction.

The concept has been designed to be all-inclusive, so both able-bodied users and people with disabilities can enjoy the games, making it suitable for families and groups of friends to enjoy playing together.‌

photo of Mylo played by a family

Of the product, Billy said: “I see the future for Mylo as being a device that people source for occupational therapy, as well as being a household object that the family can play with.

“The main ambition from this was to break down the barriers between able-bodied users and disabled users; because I think it’s something that developers of games controllers have neglected slightly.

“I see the possibilities for it being endless.”

Billy will be showcasing Mylo at New Designers in London from 4-7 July, alongside 13 fellow students from Loughborough Design School. Other student designs that are to be exhibited include an IV stand designed for children and a traffic detection device for horse riders.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 18/97

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It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2019, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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