Dubliner designs device to tackle repetitive strain injury

by Rachel Cunningham
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A Dún Laoghaire and Killiney native has created a revolutionary device with the potential to significantly reduce the incidence of Repetitive Strain Injury among healthcare professionals. 

Alexander Fives, a TU Dublin Product Design student, has already seen some success with SmoothScan, having won his university’s student entrepreneur accelerator ivenTUre and a Commendation Award in the HSE Design On the Frontline Innovation Awards. 

While researching his final year project, Alexander discovered that ultrasound practitioners have a remarkably high instance of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), symptoms of which include pain in the shoulder, neck, back and wrist. These injuries worsen over time and require time out, resulting in staff shortages, as many practitioners are required to work part-time or to retire early. 

SmoothScan allows healthcare professionals to hold the ultrasound probe against the patient, reducing the force they must apply. 

“SmoothScan is used primarily for echocardiograms, but can also be used for other abdominal scans. As a result, ultrasound practitioners use far less force to hold the probe in place, mitigating the risk of injury and lessening the impact of pre-existing injuries”, Mr Fives explained. 

While he produced a prototype as part of his final-year project, he had the opportunity to test his idea by participating in the TU Dublin student entrepreneurship vehicle ivenTUre. 

Following his success thus far, he aims to progress his design further with assistance from TU Dublin Innovation and hopes to secure a patent for the device.

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