Microsoft recently concluded its highly anticipated Imagine Cup competition. It announced on Twitter that the winner was a team of innovative students from Saudi Arabia.
Every year, young students from all over the world showcase their unique designs at this competition, and this year’s winning team was V Bionic.
The team is led by a 19-year-old robotic enthusiast named Zain Samdani. Even as a student, Zain is actively involved in researching and inventing robotic solutions to help humanity.
His latest invention, the Exoheal glove, was designed to help people who struggle with hand paralysis.
It’s a robotic exoskeleton that provides rehabilitation exercises for people whose neurological conditions have affected their ability to move their hands.
The purpose of this glove is to imitate the job of a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist monitors how patients move and recommends exercises to improve and restore proper movement.
This mechanized glove is a more affordable option for people whose neurological damage results from loss of proper hand movement.
The V Bionic team made the Exoheal glove portable so it could be worn by anyone anywhere, thereby giving people a chance to heal while they engage in other activities.
They were able to remove the need for large hydraulic machines that would severely affect the patient’s life.
The glove comprises a 3D printed white exoskeleton, a black cover, and a “backpack.” The real work goes on in the backpack; it contains all the electronics needed to make the glove function.
Zain expressed via email, “The movement powered by the flexor linkage gives us the flexibility to manipulate different parts of each finger (phalanges) individually while keeping the device portable.”
He added that the team is currently creating a “production-ready prototype” that will fit different patients no matter their hand size.
During the early testing stage, they discovered that although the glove speeds up the patient’s healing process, it still has a long way to go.
Zain finished his email by adding that they were conducting their “final clinical trials this year to better understand the scope of recovery for a variety of users and to gain regulatory/medical device approval.”
The team plans to release the Exoheal glove in India first due to the high demand in the market. There are also fewer regulatory hurdles to jump in India.
The V Bionic crew is made up of brilliant young minds who will most likely shape the future of the robotics industry.
Microsoft gave the team a $100,000 cash prize, with $50,000 in Azure credits and a mentoring session with Satya Nadella, the CEO and chairman.