In 2016 they won the Brains Award, a year later they were the first student company to take out a Young Starter Loan and they were at the Dutch Design Week: JimFIT. The company came up with a system of portable sensors that could record movements of the entire body, and is now ready to enter the market. It is an innovation in health care that, according to inventors Cas van Grunsven and Stijn Kamp, makes rehabilitation a more pleasant experience.
“What we are mainly concerned with is combining technology and health care, and especially focusing on physical therapy and sport. We want to ensure that people will perform better and be able to rehabilitate more quickly,” explains Van Grunsven. He noticed that there was potential within this field of work that was not yet exploited, mainly due to money and time shortages of doctors and physiotherapists. In addition, until the start of JimFIT, he himself had a knee injury, where he noticed that the exercises he had received from the physical therapist were difficult to perform at home. From his Industrial Design study programme at the TU Eindhoven, JimFIT was then formed with three fellow students.
“We started off small and designed sensors that could be attached to the knee for the same kind of injury I was struggling with. In the meantime, this has grown so much that they can now be attached anywhere on the body. This is possible with the so-called JimNODE sensors. The sensors accurately and quickly record data on human movements. This data can be used in various ways, for example within biomechanical research, physiotherapy, Virtual Reality (VR), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), but also for animation characters in feature films. The sensors are equipped with a long battery life and software with Bluetooth. They were made in collaboration with engineers and designers from Eindhoven and Enschede.
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The sensors are the first part of JimFIT, but to make it a success the JimTECH software has been developed for physical therapy. This way, patients receive direct feedback on the exercises they have to perform at home, and it is easier for the physical therapist to monitor the rehabilitation and give the patient ‘homework’. The physical therapist can assign exercises from the JimTECH dashboard and the results are displayed in the app. According to Van Grunsven, compliance with the therapy would increase in this way. The other part, the JimNODE Studio software, ensures the direct connection between the practice and the client by means of a live stream and the possibility to make and upload videos of the exercises. This allows the therapist in question, for example, to give feedback on the posture or speed of the patient. “There is always a therapist who checks that you are performing the exercises correctly. This means that there is also a bit of social pressure involved. In addition, you will gain direct insight into your progress, which will increase your motivation.
Of the four students who started the JimFIT project, only Van Grunsven and colleague Kamp are currently still active. Through the Innovation Lab of the TU/e and STARTUP/eindhoven, they were given guidance to develop the idea further. A lot of money and time has to be spent on the development of the ideas, the final manufacture of the sensors is less time-consuming. In that development, they could use all the extra knowledge, so they expanded their team with a Physics student who assists with movement comparisons, and an Electrical Engineering student who assists with the development of the sensor. “Our team also worked on this quarter of a century with another fifteen Software Science students who will be developing our app as an internship. We have also engaged a development partner in Eindhoven with whom we will ensure that we enter the market in September 2018.
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