A new device developed by Sky Medical Technology could help prevent the onset of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and also improve an athlete’s performance.
The ‘Geko’ uses patented technology dubbed OnPulse, which was invented by Prof Arthur Tucker at Queen Mary University.
OnPulse allows the device to emit a 27mA current to the back of the knee, causing the calf muscle to contract and stimulating blood flow.
‘The neurostimulation device stimulates the peroneal nerve,’ explained Jeff Hickman, chief financial officer and head of business development at Sky Medical Technology. ‘It just so happens that architecturally, in the body, that nerve is very close to the surface of the skin so it’s very easy to stimulate.
‘You will feel an involuntary firing of your muscles — very similar to when a doctor uses the mallet and hits your knee to test your reflexes.’
The disposable device sticks onto the leg and will be particularly useful for elderly or disabled people who do not have the ability to walk around an aircraft on longer flights. Hickman said the battery-powered Geko increases blood flow by a factor of four for someone who is sitting down.
Meanwhile, athletes across the world are using the same technology to aid muscle recovery. However, it is being sold under a different product line known as the Fire Fly.
Sky Medical Technology claims that the Fire Fly is able to prevent muscles from inflaming after they have been torn during periods of exercise.
‘Blood is like a highway system within the body,’ said Hickman. ‘Nutrients are delivered and waste taken away and so we’re just making that highway system flow better.’
He added that several athletes used the device during the Olympics after Sky Medical Technology partnered with UK Sport.
The Geko and the Fire Fly currently retail at £15–20 per pair but the company claims it is working with the NHS to bring the price down.
Hickman is in Boston meeting investors and potential business partners after being selected to attend the Future Health Mission by the Technology Strategy Board, the government’s innovation agency.