Following years of extensive general research in smart textiles, I found myself at a crossroads, unsure of which direction to take my research in – the creative, flexible electronics, or medical devices industry. Speaking with my father, who works in a medical device company specialising in rehabilitation aids, proved to be the turning point. He suggested that I utilise my expertise in wearable tech to advance medical devices and positively impact people's lives, making them live for longer and happier.
I listened to my father's advice and transitioned into the healthcare sector, where I now focus on researching and creating wearable medical textiles, specifically those that enable early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions and diseases. My research areas encompass sensors, actuators, communications, additive manufacturing, and smart materials.
Helping people to live well independently
Working in the healthcare field, my goal is to improve people's lives and promote independence. Medical devices that aid in achieving these objectives are of utmost importance to enhance well-being and alleviate the burden on healthcare systems like the NHS. A significant challenge lies in making wearable devices less intrusive and more durable while maintaining comfort and performance. To address this, I am dedicated to enhancing technologies through innovative materials and manufacturing processes.
In 2018, I was granted a project focused on developing wearable technology for the treatment of DVT (deep vein thrombosis). During this project, I stumbled upon an unexpected discovery - the wearable device showed significant improvements in treating lymphedema, a chronic condition affecting various parts of the body. This newfound revelation immediately sparked my interest, as it directly related to a condition that my grandma was experiencing. The potential to positively impact a broader range of people, including my grandmother, motivated me to pursue further research in this area. I was excited by the prospect of making a difference.
Building on this exciting finding, I delved deeper into the study. As a result of my efforts, in 2021, I was honoured to be awarded another major project by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). This project allows me to continue advancing this innovative technology in collaboration with world experts and industry partners, furthering its potential to benefit countless individuals.
For all its positives, the acceptance of wearable devices presents another challenge, requiring active involvement from healthcare providers in aspects such as procurement, budgeting, and policymaking. In the coming decade, I hope that smart clothing can integrate into everyday clothing, acting as a guardian to protect, alter, or intervene when necessary.
The essence of my research lies in enabling invisible and non-invasive monitoring and treatment of patients, empowering them to control their treatments and substantially improve their quality of life.