Vision

Our award-winning approach unites hundreds of researchers and collaborators all over the world. Projects span neuroscience, cancer biology, bioengineering, biophysics, biological chemistry and nanotechnology - together with social science, psychology and healthy ageing research. Areas of excellence range from super-resolution imaging, medical ultrasound and atomic force microscopy to downstream bioprocessing devices and diagnostics. 

We combine multidisciplinary research with innovative technology to focus on a common problem. This has enabled multiple industry partnerships and successful spin-outs, producing more impactful research. 

Read more about: PROTEUS, Robots to replace animals, Natantis

Redesigning the pressure garment

Dr Lisa Macintyre explains how we developed a Pressure Garment Design Tool which is now used by companies all over the world to make garments, meaning that more people can receive the long-term medical care they need.

Transcript

Dr Lisa Macintyre: The treatment of medical conditions like hypertrophic burn scars, lymphoedema or the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, requires the use of medical pressure or compression garments to be worn by patients.

But their effective use is a difficult bridge to cross as these compression garments must exert enough pressure to be clinically effective but also comfortable to wear, and the required pressure is different for different medical conditions, and their requirements.
Sometimes these garments can be worn from a few weeks to years depending upon the condition.

So, what can be done to balance clinical pressure with patient comfort?

Our research at Heriot-Watt has enabled us to publish the first method for calculating pressure garment dimensions, using equations derived from fabric tension profiles as well as the patient’s dimensions, to exert known pressures - to burn scars or the same theory applies for other conditions. From this, we developed a Pressure Garment Design Tool, which is now used by companies all over the world to make garments, meaning that more people can receive the long-term care they need.

Body representation

Understanding more about the cognitive representation of the body and informing the development of rehabilitation techniques with the aim of helping those effected to recover their abilities.

Transcript

Dr Anna Sedda: How do you know your left arm is yours? Can you imagine your own body? The answer to the second question is yes, while the answer to the first question remains a fascinating mystery.

Our physical body is paralleled by a cognitive representation, in other words, we are able to “see” and “feel” our body and body parts with the mind’s eye. This super power allows humans to do amazing things such as running without falling, dancing, grasping objects necessary for survival such as that first cup of coffee in the morning. 

When something goes wrong for someone, either physically or cognitively, these abilities can be impaired or even fully lost in some cases impacting whole lives. 

So, at the Heriot-Watt Body and Emotions Lab our research is centred around understanding more about the cognitive representation of the body and informing the development of rehabilitation techniques with the aim of helping those effected to recover these abilities that so many of us take for granted.

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