The business, made up of a small team of passionate individuals, was formed initially for the purpose of developing an alternative to the Plaster of Paris (PoP) method for limb immobilisation. This was based on early research of polymeric materials that would phase change from solid to malleable gel and back again to a solid in the temperature range 37 degrees (normal body temperature) to 55/56 degrees (comfortable for human tolerance).
To determine the viability of the torc concept, discussions were held with leading Orthopaedic specialists who felt that the most effective use for the material would be in more niche splinting and casting applications (see the torc system) where the properties of the material would have the most impact on issues relating to time for manufacture, fit, comfort and re-use.
The solution to most of the issues with existing devices as identified by the clinicians is a system of modelling directly onto affected limbs using the torc material that can be re-shaped many times at 56-60 degrees C but which on cooling back to body temperature becomes a rigid support structure again.
Following further research and development work the torc materials blend was created and testing was carried out at the temperature range required using dynamic mechanical thermal analysis at The University of Warwick’s Digital Laboratory.
To create a smooth and even transition into its malleable phase the material has been developed to use an embedded heat source with thermostatic protection to ensure complete patient safety during the process.
Further developments of torc material continue with testing and trialling of latest conductive ink technology as well as sensors and additives including anti-microbial formulations.
Once up-scaling and full testing of the torc system is complete, production of full-sized prototype AFOs will take place. These devices will undergo strenuous testing programs, in-house trials and pre-clinical assessment within the new Gait Centre at the University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire (UHCW) before proceeding to full NHS clinical trials.