17/05/2012 10:13 BST | Updated 17/07/2012 06:12 BST

Video Games And New Medical Devices To Transform The NHS

At-home video games and a remote, implantable blood pressure monitor wil revolutionise the NHS, according to the Wellcome Trust.

Working with the department for health, the trust is developing a video game that recovering stroke victims can use to monitor their recovery, a gene therapy approach to blindness and a totally automated blood pressure monitoring system.

The health innovation challenge fund is supporting the development of the technologies. They're much more than fanciful experiments - the fund's guidelines specify that they must have potential clinical application in the NHS within five years.

At Newcastle University, Professor Janet Eyre is developing the game (pictured above), which helps therapists monitor patients' arm rehabilitation and recovery after stroke using video games that can be played at home.

Played at home, without the need to travel to a clinic, the game measures the patient's movements and sends them back to the therapist via the internet. It's expected that the game will be available to patients within two years.


Eyre said in a statement: "We hope that enabling therapists to monitor their patients' progress remotely will improve compliance with home based therapy programmes, speed up recoveries and free up valuable clinic time. Ultimately, therapists will be able to supervise more patients and patients should regain greater independence."

Remote monitoring is a key part of the fund's projects. Another remote device, a mobile blood pressure monitor, is being developed by Imperial College London, and will be available for testing in early 2014.

The implantable device that will sit inside one of the patient's lung arteries and will continually monitor blood pressure, transmitting the information back to the NHS via "mobile phone technology".

Professor Chris McLeod, who is leading the blood pressure monitoring project said: "At the moment, the only way to monitor pressure in the blood vessels of the lung is by catheter, which requires hospitalisation, can only be done infrequently and carries some risk of infection. With the support of the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, we hope to provide a practical solution that will improve patient wellbeing and care at home and further, will reduce hospitalisation."

The new devices follow the development of the fully articulated exoskeleton, which enabled Claire Lomas, who is paralysed, to complete the London marathon.

A bionic eye powered by the sun has also been released this week.


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