As a culmination of the voting process Withsab the UNIQ ZONE Patent Competition organized in partnership with the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office, with the overarching objectives of facilitating the commercialization of patents and providing support to innovators, Dr. Elif Hocaoğlu was awarded the first prize in the Digital Technology Category for her patent titled ‘Wearable Robotic Device’ in the field of international patent registration.
Research Title: Wearable Thimble-like Device for the Objective Follow-up and Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis
Abstract: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects more than 1 million people worldwide. Since there is no definitive treatment for the disease, the treatment plan for each patient should be updated regularly according to the current level of the disease. There are standard clinical tests, each with its own scoring scale, used to monitor the deterioration of upper and lower extremity functions of MS patients under the supervision of a neurologist and physiotherapist. However, non-objective scoring based on the opinion of the physiotherapist is open to erroneous assessments and may vary fromperson to person. In addition, clinical tests donot provide detailed information about the functional impairment of the patient. Unfortunately, an objective evaluation system has not yet been implemented all over the world, and the treatment plan is still determined according to the disease in neurological-based disabilities, such as MS, which is of vital importance in personal assessment. To address the aforementioned problem, the design and experimental evaluation of a wearable thimble-like device that can be substituted for the standard clinical tests to assess the follow-up of MS are presented. The device provides the measurement of high sensitivity and opportunity for objective assessment and allows patients of all ages to use it in any desired place during their treatment phase. This device allows for objective assessments of patients through various performance metrics, such as comparing the force applied to an object against the required force (such as the force component ratios of a healthy individual) based on the ability to hold or release an object without slipping. This device endeavours not only to monitor and track the progress of patients but also to augment their performance through the utilization of tactile stimulations facilitated by the device. The wearable robotic device with electromechanical design is utilized for rehabilitation and objective clinical assessments of patients experiencing issues in the neuromusculoskeletal system, independent of subjective perspectives.