The UK Space Agency is calling on innovators to turn technology designed for space into medical applications as part of a multimillion-pound scheme.
In a joint with NHS England, the UK Space Agency is offering up to £4 million in funding to find tech inventions that could benefit the NHS and help it tackle some of its greatest challenges.
Previous examples of space tech being adapted for NHS use include ‘dementia-tracking slippers’ which are being trialled in Dorset. GPS soles can alert the carer if the person using them wanders outside given parameters or ‘geo-fence’.
Alerts are received over an app which runs on any internet enabled device and give the location of the wearer so they can be found quickly – reducing the chance for them to come to any harm.
Emily Gravestock, head of applications at UK Space Agency, said: “Britain’s world-leading space sector continues to grow and support vital public services like the NHS with innovative applications.
“We encourage all businesses and public bodies to consider the role that satellite data can play in tackling some of the biggest challenges we face, as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.”
Professor Tony Young, NHS England’s national clinical director for innovation, added: “Throughout its 70-year history the NHS has been at the forefront of healthcare innovation.
“Through this competition we are seeking the latest greatest, ideas and technical solutions to help address the modern challenges facing our health and care services.”
Up to four applications will receive UK Space Agency funding to develop their ideas along with support and advice from NHS England and the European Space Agency.
Other examples of space technology being used for medical applications include a pill camera that can be swallowed by patients, breast screening vans that beam images back to assessment centres, wearable monitors to help prevent falls among the elderly, and apps that help prevent skin cancer.