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Dream Fund 2022

The SMART Suit logo

The SMART Suit

The SMART Suit is a project that will develop a revolutionary suit for young people who have been robbed of the ability to use their arms.

Dream Fund Winner 2022 - The SMART Suit

Duchenne UK, Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK (SMA UK) and University of Liverpool have been awarded £1.25 Million by Postcode Dream Trust for The SMART Suit project, under the Social Inequality funding theme.

The SMART Suit is a revolution for young people with muscular dystrophy who have been robbed of the ability to use their arms. Prototyped for the first time, the suit will be worn discreetly under clothes to increase power, just like a real-life superhero.

The SMART Suit will drive a seismic shift in assistive technology and will deliver a device that gives independence, discreet power and comfort to help disabled kids keep chasing their dreams.

Dr Farnaz Nickpour, Director of The Inclusionaries Lab, said, "This is a unique and timely opportunity to address a long-term 'wicked problem' in the design and commercialisation of impactful and desirable solutions for important parts of our society currently disserved by innovation.

"Good design is people-centred and technology-enabled, improves quality of life and actively contributes to a more fair and equitable society. Through our innovative collaboration with Duchenne UK and SMA UK charities, we want to ensure advanced inclusive and human-centred design principles are embedded in the SMART Suit, and moreover, make our interdisciplinary approach and processes in this project, accessible and applicable in many other areas similarly in need of better more systemic solutions."

The initial prototype was developed by Solid Biosciences. Duchenne UK will take on the development of the Suit and develop a strategy to bring it to market.

Emily Reuben, CEO of Duchenne UK, said, "We are absolutely thrilled to receive this transformative grant which will have a truly game-changing impact on young lives.

"For people living with progressive conditions like DMD and SMA, losing upper body function means losing the ability to feed yourself, put your hand up in class, or hug your loved ones.

"Despite incredible technological progress elsewhere, this is a problem that has gone without true innovation in the last 30 years. Because of this, people living with upper-limb disability face barriers in work, education, and their social lives.

"With the help of this grant, we can finally change this. A huge thank you to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Dream Fund for enabling our dream project to become a reality."

Angela Smith-Morgan, CEO of SMA UK, said, "We are delighted that the People’s Postcode Lottery have selected this project as part of their Dream Fund.

"Working with Duchenne UK and the Inclusionaries Lab at the Liverpool of University we have put together our “Dream” project to bring transformational assistive technology to people living with neuromuscular conditions. Our dream is to create a "Wearable Suit" light enough to be worn under clothes, which will replace lost upper body strength - this really will be life changing for people living with SMA and other conditions."