Medical device innovators among recipients of £200,000 funding pot

Device to stop nosebleeds, easier insulin injection solution, and magnetic clothes fasteners among finalists of 2016 Spark Awards

Peter Bailey’s TickleFlex is one of three innovative medical products that will receive support and funding as part of the 2016 Spark Awards

A device aimed at making insulin injections easier and less painful, a non-invasive product to stop nosebleeds, and a range of magnetic clothes fasteners for people with arthritis are among the recipients of a £200,000 funding package.

The three innovations are among the finalists that will share the investment as part of Design Council Spark’s 2016 Spark Awards.

Peter Bailey’s TickleFlex is designed to improve the everyday lives of insulin-dependent diabetics by removing the human error and pain of injecting insulin.

A Type 1 diabetic himself, Bailey’s device clips on to the needle and works by creating a pinch that concentrates the subcutaneous tissue, controls the needle depth, and saturates local sensory inputs which then block the pain pathways.

The specially-textured flexing fingers grip the skin and fold inwards like a multiple-fingered pinch, resulting in a safer and more-comfortable way of self administering.

Wendy Minks, a trainee in oral and maxillofacial surgery based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has addressed a critical medical issue from a grassroots level with Rhinamite.

Designed to stop nosebleeds in their tracks, this non-invasive device is an alternative to the uncomfortable treatment of nasal packing often used in A&E.

The simplistic and compact design applies cool pressure to the nose and can be used by nosebleed sufferers, healthcare professionals and those working in the sports field, enabling individuals to maintain an active and independent lifestyle.

Handy-Fasteners was also singled out for investment.

These magnetic clothes fasteners, the brainchild of Sheffield University graduates Matthew Barrett, Natalie English, and Thomas Fantham, can be retrofitted to existing garments, replacing fiddly buttons.

For people with arthritis in their hands, buttons and fastenings can be really challenging. The Handy-Fasteners, designed for those with limited dexterity, hope to offer ease and independence when dressing and undressing, without compromising on style.

The 2016 awards were granted after a thorough assessment of each venture’s business plan and product viability by Design Council Spark’s investment panel.

The Spark programme is so important for inventors to guide, support, fund and give them knowledge to help them get their innovations to market

Each award provides up to £50,000 of further funding, with the total amount tailored according to the next stage of product development.

Claire Mitchell, a Design Council Spark investment panel member, said: “Seeing the finalists and products grow from an idea to where they are today makes me extremely proud of their creativity, tenacity, passion and belief in themselves and their products.

“It has made the judging process almost impossible.

“The Spark programme is so important for inventors to guide, support, fund and give them knowledge to help them get their innovations to market."

Since its launch in 2014, Design Council Spark has been committed to discovering innovative product ideas and helping progress them to market.

With more than 350 applications for this year alone, the programme has uncovered a wealth of talent from across the UK.

All 13 finalists will now continue to receive support from the Design Council Spark network of design and innovation experts as they commercialise their products.

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