Engineering faculty, students work on medical device to prevent falls

October 17, 2023 (Volume 47, Number 4)
Article by Samantha Drougel

Abishek Balsamy-Kamaraj in a black jacket and blue shirt

Abishek Balsamy-Kamaraj, assistant professor of engineering, is leading a team of students who are working on a medical device that would prevent falls.

An engineering faculty member who is co-leading the creation of a medical device has personal motivation from his mother and grandmother who have both suffered recent falls. 

Abishek Balsamy-Kamaraj, assistant professor of engineering, said: “This is personal for me, I really want this product to succeed and be accessible. Millions of people suffer due to falls and it is a reality of life for a lot of elderly people.”  

Balsamy-Kamaraj and a team of engineering students are working to further develop a fall assist device, the Windsor Gait Assist, created by Dr. Brad Burke, founder and CEO of 2innovate, a medical device company. In 2022, Burke requested Balsamy-Kamaraj's help and sent a proposal to the National Science Foundation.

The team recently received a NSF Small Business Technology Transfer grant of $275,000. Balsamy-Kamaraj said a portion of the grant goes toward the employment of GVSU engineering students. Three students are working on the design and manufacturing of the device, three other students are volunteering their time.

The device acts like a seat belt tethered to a rail system, he said. When a person falls, the breaks in the rail cart will activate, stopping the person from moving farther and hitting the ground. 

Balsamy-Kamaraj said the project is currently in phase one, the initial testing phase. Students test the device for speed reduction, harness safety and brake efficiency, he said.

“We want to ensure that the forces of the harness onto the body are not so high that it is going to injure them," he said.

Burke meets with the GVSU team weekly to learn updates and compare designs. 


Across Campus

This article was last edited on October 17, 2023 at 3:24 p.m.

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