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Portable urinary incontinence management device

School of Engineering

Edinburgh United Kingdom Biomedical Engineering Design Other

About the Project

The Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a new £20m interdisciplinary research collaboration aiming to transform later life with person centred integrated care

The vision of the ACRC is to play a vital role in addressing the Grand Challenge of ageing by transformational research that will support the functional ability of people in later life so they can contribute to their own welfare for longer. With fresh and diverse thinking across interdisciplinary perspectives our academy students will work to creatively embed deep understanding, data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics into systems of health and social care supporting the independence, dignity and quality-of-life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments.

The ACRC Academy will equip future leaders to drive society’s response to the challenges of later life care provision; a problem which is growing in scale, complexity and urgency. Our alumni will become leaders in across a diverse range of pioneering and influential roles in the public, private and third sectors.

To develop a wearable device that helps patients self-manage urinary incontinence. The device will depend on making clinically proven transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (TTNS) available as an un-obtrusive wearable device (e.g., a sock). We will also consider monitoring the state of the bladder using wearable ultrasound patch and create a closed-loop with the TTNS device. This project is dependent on close collaboration between clinical research in urinary incontinence and novel technologies in wearable sensor/actuator.

Urinary incontinence (UI) and overactive bladder (OAB) are common problems that influence the quality of life for millions of people, mostly due to overactivity of detrusor muscles. It is under-researched, and stigmatising. Compared to many conventional approaches, e.g., pharmacological intervention and bladder catheterisation, functional electrical stimulation (FES), especially the transcutaneous type, is attractive for people of all ages. It has few side effects but still shows comparable efficacy. However, today's FES devices are bulky, requires assistance during operation and cannot be used an extended period of time. We intend to create an easy way to use FES device targeted for OAB application that older people can use on their own.

Present TTNS procedure requires multiple hospital visits and assistance of a trained personnel.

Most tibial nerve stimulators are still percutaneous and also requires multiple hospital visits.



An undergraduate degree in electrical engineering with strong interest in medical technology. Some understanding of PCB design and electrical circuit simulation will be useful. An interest in working with a multidisciplinary team including engineers, clinical researchers and human subjects will be necessary.

Funding Notes

PhD's are fully funded with an above industry stipend for the full 4 year period.

The call is open to candidates of any nationality but funded places for overseas nationals will be strictly limited to 3 international students who can apply for the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Application forms are now available here:
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Find more information on how to apply on the How to Apply section of our website:
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Video PhD Introduction

ACRC Academy Video:

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