Otago Polytechnic

Matt King is working on a more reliable way to test grip strength.

The insurance industry in the United States, like the Accident Compensation Corporation here in New Zealand, pays out for permanent disability. Currently there are a range of products on the market to measure hand grip strength, a key indicator of overall fitness. These different products give a variety of test results and lead to inconsistent medical examination outcomes. There is a need for greater reliability.

Matt King and his collaborators began their work of designing interactive biomedical test equipment by looking at the differences between devices and how testing was done, to identify the effects of various devices and test parameters on the variability of results. They were able to identify for example that the test protocol should not allow people to see their own results as they are doing the test. 

Their next step has been to use those parameters to design a hand grip dynanomometer and develop a standardised test protocol that together will generate consistent and standard results. A prototype for a new hand grip dynamometer has been produced and is about to go into trials for validation. Matt says that they have designed their device to be interactive and automate the reporting process with more informative results in due course, showing real time changes in grip strength over the 5 second period of the test.

TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN

January 2020

Image credit: Craig Sunter, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0