Monday, 03 Sep 2012
A bionic hand from Touch Bionics
Date: 3 September 2012
Willetts Welcomes Innovation in Assistive Medical Technologies
Welcoming initiatives announced by UK firms at today's Advances in Assistive Medical Technologies Global summit at the British Business Embassy, London, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
"The UK’s strong commitment to research and development, low taxes for business and world class higher education have nurtured one of the world's largest and most productive life science industries.
“British assistive medical technology firms exemplify how innovation and technology can be harnessed to boost prosperity and change lives – and today’s event is a great opportunity to promote their extraordinary potential to an international audience.”
Business initiatives announced today:
Touch Bionics, a provider of world-leading prosthetic technologies, including the world’s first prosthetic hand with five individually powered fingers, and the University of Strathclyde, announced today that they have jointly been awarded a £385,000 Technology Strategy Board grant. This will allow the two organisations to conduct research into Pattern Recognition, which is the interpretation of brain signals using advanced software to provide intuitive control of the movements of prosthetic limbs. Research-based improvements in technology has fuelled a 12-fold increase in Touch Bionics’ revenues since 2007, driven mainly by exports. This new research is expected to enable further international sales to national health and insurance providers.
Trekinetic All Terrain Ltd, an innovative UK manufacturer of all-terrain wheelchairs will announce that it plans, under certain conditions, to grant production licences and provide technical support to non-UK manufacturers of its new generation K-2. This chair has been designed to enable production using simple techniques and processes. It is easy to service and with UK factory assistance can potentially be manufactured in any country, servicing needs including a recent request for a wheelchair for a Maasai warrior injured by a buffalo.
Trekinetics are in daily use in over 45 countries, providing mobility when the terrain is too difficult for conventional wheelchairs. Trekinetic is growing at around 12% annually and, with the advent of its new GTE powered chair and further world-wide representation, stronger UK growth is expected. Trekinetics were used in the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony and a specially modified, all-white 'Olympic' GTE, was supplied to enable well-known mouth painting artist and long term Trekinetic owner, Keith Jansz, to enable him to carry the flame in the Olympic Torch Relay.
Blatchford, a specialist UK provider of prosthetics, orthotics and special seating, has today announced that it has invested over £1 million in complex machining centres to meet the increasing international demand for its new products. After launching its latest microprocessor-controlled prosthesis foot, called 'Elan', in the US last year, sales have increased by 60% during 2012. Reflecting the success of its growth strategy, this autumn Blatchford will also move into its new Innovation Centre Research and Development and much larger head office premises in Basingstoke.
Notes to editors
1. The Government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.
2. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at .