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2015-05-18

Students from two separate programmes have collaborated on developing the new app. From the left: Rebecca Norén, Daniel Johnsson, Elin Höglund, Anna Felixson, Jennifer Forsberg and Albin Martinsson.

Students develop app for stroke patients

Students from two different programmes at Halmstad University started a collaboration that resulted in an app that will help stroke patients in their daily life.

”1 pm Rehab at the gym”

”7 pm Family dinner at dad's.”

That's how a planned afternoon might look in the application prototype.

It consists of a calender and a "to-do list" and is designed specifically with a stroke patient's needs in mind. The app can, for example, be used with just one hand. The idea behind the invention is, among other things, that a stroke patient can share his or her calendar with their family, to make things easier for the family as well. It enables a family member to be involved in what's happening without being intrusive.

– We felt from the start that this could be a really good idea, and everyone we spoke to was positive. It was great to hear that others also believed in us and that it wasn't just ourselves, says Anna Felixson, one of the inventors.

An existing need

Together with Elin Höglund, she's a student at the Development Engineer programme. Both students have developed the idea as their graduation project and have done studies that suggest there's an existing need for an application like this. The Swedish Heart and Lung Association has shown a lot of interest in the concept and a collaboration has been formed with the company Fysiokraft, which works with rehabilitation of stroke victims. The company has mainly been there as support and sounding board.

To develop a design for the product would cost around 100,000–150,000 SEK if the engineering students hired and external company. For that reason, their supervisor suggested they contact the programme Digital Design and Innovation, which suitably enough includes the course Design studio health. Contacts were made between the programmes and a collaboration was started.

– It's great. The students collaborate and contribute to each others' learning. It adds a perspective that we as teachers can never give, says Pontus Wärnestål, programme director of Digital Design and Innovation.

A memory aid

The four students who have developed the design for the application are also positive to the collaboration. David Johnsson is one of them:

– You can see that the programmes complete each other, he says.

A person who have had a stroke can suffer from so called brain fatigue, a form of mental fatigue that causes various difficulties. The app is therefor meant to be a memory aid and support in everyday life.

Successes are also intended to be shared. A patient can for instance take a photo and share it with family to show their progress during rehabilitation.

Now that the design is finished, Anna Felixson and Elin Höglund will continue with the development of the product. Once their education is finished, both development engineers will make a go of the app and try to find financial backers for the project.

– We are graduating soon, but we see that as the starting point, says Elin Höglund.

Text and photo: MIKAEL EVARD

Updated 2015-05-18