Southampton Neuroscience Postgraduate Wins Innovation Prize for Smart Clothing that will Treat Muscular Ailments
Devon Lewis, a neuroscience PhD from the University of Southampton, has been ‘crowned’ a Champion of Champions in the annual Engineers in Business Competition which pits teams of university engineering and bio engineering student innovators against each other to win vital seed funding to progress their business idea.
As an Engineers in Business (EIBC) Champion of Champions, Devon wins a magnificent trophy and £1,500 for his brainchild, Inpulse - smart clothing that increases strength and corrects muscle imbalances. Inpulse allows wearers, be they world-class athletes, keep fit fans or patients suffering from neurological disorders, the best possible control of their muscles.
Devon explained what spurred him on to develop smart clothing to improve muscle control: “I’m fascinated by the idea that we can directly activate our muscles non-invasively with small electrical currents. The way our nervous system coordinates movements of the body is incredibly complex, and problems can arise at any stage, leading to a huge range of movement disorders. Conventional approaches usually seek to identify and improve specific biological issues, but we can use electrical stimulation to bypass all these issues and treat everything from minor tremors to complete paralysis without drugs or invasive surgery. Inpulse is my solution.
“Winning the Engineers in Business prize is absolutely amazing! The entries were incredibly strong this year, so it was an honour to even get a chance to present in the finals. £1,500 is actually the exact amount I need to cover the rest of the production costs for our pilot so I can’t wait to start getting Inpulse clothing out to people and seeing the progress everyone makes with it.”
The Engineers in Business Competition, which awarded the prize, is unique. Instead of creating an add-on competition, it provides prize funds that are integrated into each partner university’s existing offering. The undergraduates and postgraduates who take part and win a prize in their university competitions then enter the EIBC Champion of Champions Final for a chance to win further seed funding. Devon is one of these inspiring winners.
The EIBC prize fund is provided by Engineers in Business Fellowship whose patron is Lord Sainsbury of Turville. EIBF’s President, David Falzani MBE, explained the rationale for awarding universities £700,000 over four years for business ideas competitions: “Research tells us that introducing business education to young engineers and technologists makes them better engineers, makes them more employable, more effective in the workplace and it is better for the UK economy. What is exceptional about the young engineers and technologists who are engaging with business ingenuity is that they are developing concepts while in education and many go on to develop real businesses that tackle problems in society. They are bringing new technologies to people and will create jobs. We are delighted for Devon and look forward to seeing how Inpulse develops.”
Devon is seeking volunteers to pilot Inpulse – if you are interested in getting involved in the pilot or want to see how it goes, you can sign up at inpulse.io.