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It may seem a bit preposterous at first blush, but this shimmering orb is designed to establish a “new form of communication for cognitively impaired people,” according to German startup Icho Systems GmbH. Its Ichó therapy ball deploys an array of colored lights, vibrations, and sounds to promote cognitive and motor skills. In Europe, it is providing gentle therapy to adults suffering from dementia as well as children with autism. In designing the device, Icho Systems GmbH determined that it needed to source a soft-touch, translucent material that was easy to clean. Mediprene thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) from compounder Hexpol TPE checked all of those boxes.
The Ichó therapy ball is constructed from an injection molded outer skin that houses the lights, speaker, sensors, and electronics. Mediprene TPE was selected because of its tactile qualities and its light permeability. Mediprene TPEs also withstand most common cleaning fluids used in healthcare environments, and the latex-free material is classified as non-sensitizing in accordance with ISO 10993-5.
The desirable properties of the material were only part of the reason that Icho chose to do business with Hexpol TPE; another was customer service. "Service is one of the top priorities for us, and that's how we live with our customers,” said Samantha Scharf, Marketing & Distribution. “It was important to us to work with a medical material, and we had the relevant prerequisites here. We were given in-depth information about material options right from the first contact. There was also a quick and good answer to further inquiries. In addition to Hexpol's own product portfolio, the advice was always good and fast, so that the time to final production could be kept very short,” said Scharf.
About the Author(s)
Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree. Reach him at [email protected].
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