Local invention up for award

By Amy McGillivray

Paramedic Sean O'Connor has seen too many broken hips so he decided to do something about it.

Now his product is in the running for a major design award.

Mr O'Connor started thinking about and designing a new type of hip protector in 2006.

"I'm seeing people falling over and breaking their hip all the time. They've got a product but they're not wearing it," he said. "Companies don't think too much about the poor person who's got to wear it."

Two and a half years ago he teamed up with Locus Research for the research and development of the Delloch HipFit and now it is a finalist in the non-consumer category of the New Zealand Best Product Design Awards which will be anounced on Friday.

"It's a pretty tough award. Even just being nominated is fantastic," he said. "We're up against Fisher and Paykel and people like that. It just shows you don't have to have a budget of millions and millions of dollars to get involved."

Mr O'Connor said the product has just recently started to take off with distributors in America and Melbourne looking at the product. Middlemore, Waikato and Thames hospitals are also considering it.

"We're just getting into the market place right now with a product that is comfortable and looks really good," he said. "It has to be comfortable and it has to look good or people just won't wear it."


- Bay of Plenty Times

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