SHAPES (Sheffield Adaptive Patterned Electrical Stimulation)

SHAPES (Sheffield Adaptive Patterned Electrical Stimulation)

Project team


NIHR Invention for Innovation

Total value of project

£996, 004


Duration of project

36 months 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2023

Project overview

The SHAPES project has been funded for three years to design, manufacture and trial a self, or carer-managed intervention that could be deployed early after stroke to treat post-stroke elbow spasticity.

The damage caused by a stroke often makes arm muscles hard to control. They become weak, and then stay tight when they should relax. This over-tightness can become painful and disabling because muscles shorten and the arm cannot be moved freely. The project will further design, develop and test a new therapy device (ShefStim-SBS) to ensure that it is easier to wear and use at home.

The project will involve development of a robust user-friendly system and a blinded-design Randomised Control Trial (RCT). The CAMC team contribute expertise in design (product, interaction, and fashion) and human factors to the project. They will undertake qualitative research to determine user needs, advance the system through co-design and undertake user testing and evaluation.

Project objectives

The project aims to determine if a co-designed novel therapy (SHAPES) for relaxing tight arm muscles after stroke is better than two other treatments (TENS and usual care).

The objectives the CAMC team will contribute to are to:

  • assess the usability of the current protoype
  • co-design an improved prototype that allows one-handed use
  • test the final prototype in terms of ease of use, wearability and acceptbility

Impact statement

The expected benefit of SHAPES is to provide a simple self or carer-managed intervention that could be deployed early after stroke to treat post-stroke elbow spasticity. It also has the potential to be used for other joints. It would allow more therapy time than is currently possible through physiotherapy alone and avoids the significant side-effects and cost of anti-spasticity medications.

Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021