The SMART ArmTM story
Dr Ruth Barker first conceived the idea for the SMART ArmTM device in 2005, after becoming frustrated by the lack of clinical options for arm rehabilitation following stroke. In her role as a physiotherapist, Dr Barker realised that the majority of therapy for stroke survivors was directed towards their legs, to get them walking again. This left many stroke survivors with major deficiencies in arm function, prevented them from performing everyday tasks and from regaining quality of life.
From this notion the SMART Arm team was formed, consisting of Dr Ruth Barker, from JCU’s School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences researchers Professor Sandy Brauer and Dr Kate Hayward, and School of Human Movement Studies researchers Prof Richard Carson and Dr David Lloyd.
The first prototype of the SMART Arm was very simple, and looked much more at home in a laboratory than a hospital. However, over the course of the last ten years the prototypes have changed dramatically as we have improved the safety, efficacy, usability, and let’s be honest, the appearance of the device!
It’s all hands on deck for the SMART Arm team as we target a submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administrator in the near future to gain regulatory approval for the device. As soon as we have the SMART Arm listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, we can start selling devices to hospitals, rehabilitation centers and physiotherapy practices.