Alison Grieve, founder of tablet accessory, G-Hold, is to speak at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards. She explains how working with academics helped her to launch her business.
Following the success of the Safetray, which allows waiting staff to safely carry trays of food and drink, entrepreneur and inventor Alison Grieve was on a mission to change the way the world holds things and developed a new and unique product called ‘G-hold’.
The G-Hold is a multi-purpose handhold invention that can be placed on the back of any type of tablet or reader, big or small, for a comfortable hold.
It allows users to easily and safely handle hand-held devices such as iPads and tablets without causing strain, with one hand leaving the other free to operate the device and perform related tasks (e.g. drawing, writing) simultaneously. The G-hold handhold attaches to devices using either Micro Suction or permanent adhesive, with a retractable finger support which enables users to hold their device comfortably and without the risk of dropping it.
G-Hold’s are sold globally and manufactured locally in Scotland by McLaren Plastics in Loanhead.
Alison wanted to obtain scientific data proving G-Hold’s ergonomic attributes in preventing injury and to evaluate its overall performance.
The entrepreneur was keen to understand more about the muscles around the carpal tunnel in the wrist used when tablet users grip their devices as opposed to using the G-Hold.
The academic expertise needed for this project lay in the area of Biomechanics. It involved the understanding of how human biology and mechanical devices can be developed to work in harmony so that the experience is comfortable, flexible and efficient without producing any adverse strain type side effects.
Interface put Alison in touch with a range of relevant academics from Scotland’s universities who were keen to investigate the ergonomic benefits of G-hold in reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries for heavy users of electronic devices.
Through support from Interface, Alison was successfully matched and chose to collaborate with Dr Ukadike Chris Ugbolue from the University of the West of Scotland, within the Institute for Clinical Exercise & Health Science to carry out a technical feasibility study on G-Hold, evaluating its performance and examining the effect on the arm, wrist and hand of users.
University of the West of Scotland has expertise available from the Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science (ICEHS). The Institute comprises the Centre for Clinical Exercise & Rehabilitative Science and the Sports Academy and is involved in research areas related to exercise science.
Dr Ugbolue is a Biomechanical Engineer with expertise in biomechanics and musculoskeletal disorders affecting the hand such as carpal tunnel syndrome. With strong interests in ergonomics and bioinstrumentation Dr Ugbolue is a perfect match for this project.
This project was funded through a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher administered by Interface. The resulting data was so powerful that it was translated into an image for prospective customers to understand more easily. The graphic was used in the marketing materials and during the ErgoExpo in Las Vegas and it caught the eye of both Apple and Microsoft.
In April 2017, G-hold secured new deals with Apple and Microsoft and they are now designing a new version specifically for Microsoft's tablet/PC hybrid, Surface Pro, which will launch in the summer.
CEO and Inventor, Alison Grieve said: "We would never have been able to afford the type of equipment needed to analyse these muscle groups without the support of Interface introducing us to the University of the West of Scotland.
"The results were crucial in proving our ergonomic benefits to customers, particularly in the US where large organisations are especially careful to protect their employees from risk of ergonomic or muscular skeletal complaints.
"Dr U. Chris Ugbolue was the ideal academic to work on this project due to his extensive knowledge in the area of carpal tunnel syndrome and this study was a world-first. Graphical representations of his study have since been distributed to various partners around the world and we hope to work with Dr Ugbolue on future projects.”
"Through the collaboration between the University of The West of Scotland, Interface and G-Hold, evaluating the G-Hold device biomechanically provided an insight into the efficacy and functionality of the invention as a useful product with ergonomic benefits", said Dr U. Chris Ugbolue, University of The West of Scotland.
“It was a pleasure working on this product within the Biomechanics Laboratory with my students who consented to be participants for the planned feasibility study... They really enjoyed the opportunity to visualize occupational biomechanics in action.”
The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards will take place on 22 February 2018, at the Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh. The awards will recognise, reward and celebrate the impacts achieved through academic and business partnerships.
Register for the event here.