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Good Design puts SA innovations on world stage

Lyndon Huf and Associate Professor Sandy Walker during testing of the Prohab Connected Healthcare Device at the Tonsley Innovation District.
Lyndon Huf and Associate Professor Sandy Walker during testing of the Prohab Connected Healthcare Device at the Tonsley Innovation District.

South Australian start-up company Prohab – and advanced manufacturer 3RT – have been awarded Australia’s coveted Good Design Awards for design excellence announced last night (11 July 2019).

Designed in collaboration with Flinders University’s Associate Professor in Product Design, Sandy Walker, the Prohab Connected Healthcare Device accurately measures the force-generating capability of an individual’s muscle, in order to guide and personalise prescription of exercise and rehabilitation programs. It took out a Good Design Award for Design Excellence.

Other experts from Flinders University’s College of Science and Engineering also collaborated with green company 3RT, which won a Gold Accolade for Design Excellence in the Product Design category, and Engineering Design award for outstanding design and innovation.

3RT’s solution is a safe and sustainable robotic mini-factory that uses young plantation logs to create fully recyclable ‘designer’ hardwood at a lower cost than traditional milled product.

Flinders University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology has worked with the company to develop its novel water-based bio-mimicking ‘nano-glue’ that replicates the natural growing process in just hours.

“Advanced robotics and Industry 4.0 Smart production deliver efficient and safe wirelessly-controlled manufacturing that can create bespoke colours and grain,” says 3RT manager director Peter Torreele.

Based at the Tonsley Innovation District, Prohab CEO Lyndon Huf says the device empowers the patient to be more engaged and in control of their recovery by using real time data to allow them to monitor their rehabilitation.

“We are thrilled, this International recognition greatly validates our product and we are excited this timely award aligns with our next phase of investment.

“The Prohab device motivates patients recovering from injury, by seamlessly gathering exercise data and keeping track of real-time progress, assisting medical professionals to make better treatment recommendations.”

Dr.Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, says the judging panel said the new Prohab device’s design was extremely well resolved.

“Some of the detail of the physical product were excellent and inspirational in their execution (hinge, switch detention). A clever example of good design applied to an identified user need,” he said.

Flinders Associate Professor Sandy Walker says a key to design success was “using ‘Design Think’ methods to invent an all-in-one, strong but lightweight, titanium chassis, which combined the strain gauge, power switch and two clipping carabiners, into a single integrated component, which could then quickly and easily attached to resistance-bands and cable-based gym equipment”.

“I was truly inspired by Prohab’s vision for the development of a novel rehabilitation device and have been thrilled to work on this project,” Associate Professor Walker says.

Professor Karen Reynolds, Flinders University’s Dean (Research), College of Science and Engineering, congratulated the winners in 2019’s 61st Good Design Awards ceremony.

“Flinders University is a leader in creative discovery and practical solutions, and this award is resounding acknowledgement of Associate Professors Walker’s contributions towards the development of Prohab’s device,” says Professor Reynolds, who also is director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Tonsley.

With all of the research, design, clinical trials and manufacturing for the new device done in SA, the company Prohab (initially known as Maction) was born through Flinders University’s New Venture Institute’s Venture Dorm Program. Mr Huf then turned to the Medical Device Partnering Program and Associate Professor Walker at Flinders University.

Prohab have since been working to refine and test the product and recently started working with the Innovative Manufacturing Accelerator 4.0 to automate and scale manufacturing.

The Good Design Awards Jury acknowledged 3RTs: “Great design in delivering on the objectives and involving some genuine process innovations that achieve a bonding strength to match the strength of natural hardwood.”

3RT has a working production unit at their Adelaide Innovation Centre and are seeking investors to back the introduction of the technology globally – particularly for companies that use large quantities of hardwood in furniture production and high-value building materials.

Source: Flinders University

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