Bioliberty secures funding to accelerate robotic glove stroke rehab tool

Bioliberty, an Edinburgh-based company developing a soft robotic glove to help rehabilitate stroke patients, has received £435,000 from Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst.

Bioliberty's glove tunes in to muscle activity and predicts the 3D position of the user's hand
Bioliberty's glove tunes in to muscle activity and predicts the 3D position of the user's hand - Bioliberty

Based at the National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt University, the Edinburgh University start-up will use the funding to accelerate its product to market.

The robotic glove works by assisting a patient to open and close their hand, an action which can be severely limited following a stroke.

Developed with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and clinicians, the glove has built-in sensors that allow it to vary levels of resistance to tailor rehabilitation exercises to the user. This new Innovate UK funding will go towards developing the machine learning and data collection elements of the product.

“Bioliberty is on the verge of a revolutionary leap in rehabilitation technology,” Conan Bradley, co-founder at Bioliberty, said in a statement. “Our upcoming trials for our soft robotic glove are set to ignite the United States, with top rehab clinics eagerly in discussions. With this newfound funding, we're poised to accelerate trials and expedite our market launch. But we're not stopping at the US; the UK beckons, with a significant demand for innovative rehabilitation solutions amidst the latest NICE guidelines.”


It’s estimated that 1.3 million people in the UK have had a stroke, with many requiring ongoing therapy to recover from the symptoms.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) state that stroke victims should receive up to three hours of rehabilitation a day, five days a week. However, the Stroke Association has voiced concerns over the NHS’s ability to deliver on this target.

Bioliberty, which has already raised over £3.5m in private and public funding, believes the new technology can help deliver on these new guidelines. 

Lisa Farrell, business development manager at the National Robotarium, said: “With an ageing population, demand for robotic solutions to assist in the rehabilitation of those who’ve experienced a stroke will be in great demand. Stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide, so Bioliberty’s product is addressing a global need, which is one of the core missions of the National Robotarium.”