Updated: Nov 3, 2020
LOS ANGELES, CA - PPS, a design and development company, was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The grant will be used to refine the Wrist-Aid, a new non-obtrusive, non-invasive medical device that alleviates carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) symptoms without impairment of hand use as with traditional splints.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the hand experiences pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness due to chronic compression of the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. It most often develops from repetitive motions that repeatedly compress the median nerve, such as excessive computer or assembly line work. It is also associated with certain conditions that lead to nerve compression.
The cumulative economic cost of carpal tunnel syndrome in the United States is in excess of $2 billion annually. CTS features the second longest average time away from work (28 days) of all major disabling diseases and illnesses in all private industries in the U.S. The Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ recommends that non-surgical methods be considered before surgery¹.
After personally suffering from CTS and trying many conservative treatments with limited success, Dr. Jae Son, PPS Founder & CEO, invented Wrist-Aid. When his symptoms went away after wearing the device for only 1 week, Dr. Son realized his product might be able to help others. Results of a recent pilot clinical study suggest the device relieves CTS symptoms and the improvements continued suggesting longer term benefits.
PPS has assembled a core team of scientific and clinical experts for this grant. The negative pressure and decompression mechanism underlying Wrist-Aid’s treatment principles are consistent with Dr. Zong-Ming Li’s biomechanics research at Cleveland Clinic². Dr. Li is a world renowned hand biomechanist.
When adhered to the wrist, the device pulls up on the tissue under the mid portion of the device. This mechanism relieves pressure on the median nerve leading to relief from CTS. Understanding the mechanism of how and why this device works is part of the grant objectives. “Our mission is to bring a noninvasive, nonrestrictive, low-cost, and effective treatment to the millions of adults that suffer from CTS" says Dr. Jae Son.
Founded over 20 years ago as Pressure Profile Systems, Inc. to address tactile sensors for robotics at Harvard University, PPS has expanded to develop innovative solutions involving the sense of touch for fortune 500 companies as well as incubating useful sensor-based products.