Almost 2.8 million Germans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or polyarthrosis of the hands. These diseases belong to the group of rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders (RMD), which affect approximately 120 million Europeans (De Wit et al., 2011).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an incurable, autoimmune disease that affects, among other things, the joints, primarily on the hands, and is predicted to increase by 1.07% worldwide over the next few years by 2029 (GlobalData, 2020).
Polyarthrosis is a degenerative disease that often accompanies age. Polyarthrosis and RA not only cause pain, stiffness, swelling and deformation in those affected, but also have a direct impact on their everyday lives. This prevents those affected from carrying out activities such as housework, work and/or hobbies as usual. The feeling of helplessness and physical limitation leads to increased depression. Massage is a scientifically proven therapy for symptom relief in RA & polyarthrosis patients (Field et al., 2007, 2011).
Manual physiotherapy (massage) is limited (frequency and location) and painkillers to which the body develops resistance in the course of therapy trigger undesirable side effects. Because of this and the fact that Daniela’s mother herself suffered from RA a few years ago and she massaged her hands daily to relieve symptoms, we invented Art-Glove. Other causes, such as surgery, injury and overuse, can also lead to hand discomfort and severely reduce quality of life.
Art-Glove is a cordless, wearable and stylish glove that massages the hands of patients, thereby relieving pain and counteracting stiffness. This unique, fingerless and lightweight system allows users to perform daily activities without any inconvenience or limitations. Compared to medications, which are usually used for relief, the Art-Glove does not cause any side effects. Several doctors and physiotherapists have already convinced themselves of the concept of the Art-Glove.
Our progress since the last interview
Since the last interview, the start-up has achieved significant milestones, including a successfully completed accelerator program from Munich University of Applied Sciences and UnternehmerTUM. Another program provides access to financial resources for workshops, patent applications and prototype construction. With these available funds, essential components for prototype procurement were acquired, and a new sixth-generation prototype was developed. Thanks to the active support of our new team member Konstantinos with expertise in the field of medical technology, the development of the compression system could be significantly advanced. This revised prototype is now being used in extensive long-term tests to collect objective data and strengthen the basis for argumentation for investors.
The Art-Glove is an innovative glove that specifically addresses the needs of people with hand problems. Due to the built-in battery, the glove is portable and can be taken and worn anywhere. Equipped with adjustable vibration motors and compression technology, it offers a gentle massage that relieves pain and promotes blood circulation. Furthermore, all cables and hoses are hidden in the glove. The user can adjust the glove individually to his joints and muscles. The special feature is that the glove is fingerless and thus allows a variety of activities, such as operating touchscreens or reading newspapers.
The technology behind Art-Glove
Our approach combines proven technologies from different products to create a comprehensive solution. The targeted massage of the vibration motors and the adjustable compression make it possible to reduce both stiffness and relieve pain. This holistic approach aims to provide users with a comfortable and effective method of hand health.
Our vision for the future
With our new team member (Jonas as CFO), our goal is to make Art-Glove the preferred choice for people with hand problems. We continue to focus on innovation and excellence to continuously improve our glove. With the combination of technology, design and functionality, we want to support people to live an active and pain-free life.
Comfortable to wear
The compression fabric that the glove is made of gives the patient a comfortable and refreshing feeling while wearing it. Furthermore, it helps the blood circulation, which is important for the hand´s mobility. This product could help users not only physically but also mentally. About 16.8% people, who are suffering from RA, which is just a part of our target group, also suffer from depression. With Art-Glove, users will not feel like they are using a medical device that constantly reminds them of their disease, but a nice glove that provides a constant relief.
Our business model
It is statistically proven that a massage has positive effects on the pain treatment, blood circulation and wellbeing. Therefore, Art-Glove is the perfect massaging device for people who do not want to take strong medicine with side effects to relieve the pain and be still mobile and flexible to perform daily basic tasks if desired.
Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis is not curable. Art-Glove is a realistic alternative for patients looking for a practical and innovative product to relieve the pain caused by this disease without taking strong medicine to relieve the pain, stiffness and swollenness.
Art-Glove’s goal is to become the “number 1” product used by at least 650,000 Germans and another 2,200,000 Europeans to relieve the pain and joint stiffness caused by RA and by many more with hand discomfort. The product will be sold directly to the customer or indirectly through licensing model.
The Art-Glove team
A lot has also changed in terms of team constellation: Although the Art-Glove team is still a group of four, the team members are different. Philippe will take over the position of CEO and lead the overall management of the company, while Konstantinos will be responsible for technical innovation and development as CTO. Jonas will take on the position of CFO and ensure the financial health of the company and sales, while Daniela will initially support Konstantinos in research and development. Later, Daniela will take on the position of COO to efficiently manage the operational procedures and processes.
Best Idea Cup
The team of Art-Glove won the Best Idea Cup 2019 of the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences and also successfully acquired the Gründerstipendium NRW. Daniela and Philippe developed Art-Glove also in their Master´s thesis and are now working on the development of the idea at the Technical University in Munich.