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5 of the Coolest MedTech Inventions from the Leeds City Region

· Abigail Beall · Digital & Tech

These technologies are at the forefront of medicine.

Tissue Regenix

Some of the most impressive medical technologies have been developed right here in the Leeds City Region. Here’s our pick of the best…

Modern technology has revolutionised medicine. Every year, new breakthroughs help to save lives – and those breakthroughs are happening right on our doorstep. From a blood test that uses lasers to detect bacterial infections to a smart prosthetic leg that reacts to the environment around it, these inventions will blow your mind.

A virtual physiotherapist

Leeds Beckett University Virtual Physiotherapist

Credit: Grow MedTech

Developed by Professor Dorothy Monekosso at Leeds Beckett University, the virtual physiotherapist is designed to help patients recovering from a stroke. Every year, more than 15 million people around the world experience strokes, which can cause weakness, paralysis and coordination issues.

Physio sessions help stroke patients to get their strength and movement back, but the key to success is keeping up a regular exercise routine. However, when it’s down to a patient to motivate themselves at home in between physio sessions, it can be hard to keep going. The virtual physio uses artificial intelligence to learn what motivates patients and uses that information to keep them going. It also tracks the user’s progress, so they can see the results of all their hard work.

A blood test sensor

Blood sensor

Researchers at the University of York have developed a blood sensor which could help speed up blood tests. The handheld biosensors examine blood using a process called laser interferometry. This involves shooting two beams of laser light through the sample. Together, they create an interference pattern that can be used to detect protein in the blood.

When someone has a bacterial infection, the level of certain proteins increases in the blood, so the sensor could help doctors work out whether an infection is viral or bacterial. This could help solve a huge problem in medicine, namely the over-prescription of antibiotics. The fact that they’re often mistakenly prescribed for viral infections is part of the reason that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are developing.

A smart prosthetic leg

Artificial Leg

The University of Leeds Robotics department has worked on a smart biomimetic, self-tuning, fully adaptable prosthetic leg. Their invention is called a Smart BioLeg.

Each year, thousands of people lose their legs through accidents, circulatory problems or complications with diseases like diabetes. But current technology means prosthetic legs are usually difficult to use, requiring a lot of energy to move. This invention is part of a new generation of prosthetics legs, which can mimic human muscle. It can adapt to different surfaces, stairs and slopes, making walking with a prosthetic leg much easier.

Tissue fillers that stimulate growth

Tissue Regenix

Joint and bone injuries are among the most common source of health issues, in particular when it comes to ageing populations. Because as we get older our joints wear down, lose flexibility and take longer to heal.

MedTech Tissue Regenix, which spun out of the University of Leeds in 2006, has invented a technology that can be used to help treat joint injuries. The regenerative technology works like a kind of scaffolding that can be placed into damaged tissue, through surgery. This provides support for the joint while it repairs itself. The body will then fill the gaps in with new, healthy cells. This technology is currently being tested in clinical trials.

A healing wound dressing

Bandage foot

Dr Giuseppe Tronci, a lecturer at the University of Leeds, has invented a collagen dressing that boosts the healing process. It works using a chemical that has antibacterial properties when activated by light.

It was inspired by people with diabetes. As a result of the disease, they often develop nerve damage and suffer from reduced circulation. This makes their wounds heal more slowly and increases the likelihood that they’ll develop into ulcers. Tronci’s dressing was designed to speed up the healing process, so it never comes to this. It could also reduce the need for antibiotics in all patients, which would help the global effort to fight antibiotic resistance.