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Blue running vest on white young adult woman running towards the camera.

Project Phoenix

Making exercise accessible for those with MS

Project Phoenix

Around 60 to 80% of those with Multiple Sclerosis suffer with a symptom known as heat sensitivity. Heat sensitivity is caused by an individual with MS either being within a hot environment or when partaking in exercise. The heat sensitivity itself can make all other symptoms that the person with MS has increase in severity, making exercise for the majority of those with MS inaccessible.

Phoenix helps to combat heat sensitivity for those with MS by supporting the bodies natural thermoregulatory processes and autonomously cool the individual whilst they exercise. This is all done via the Phoenix 2 layer running vest and Phoenix sports vest app.

Thermo-cooling fabric technology

The interwoven thermoelectric fabric creates a Peltier cooling effect, comprising of one side of the fabric compressing a cooling layer onto the skin whilst the other side of the fabric helping to dissipate heat into the air. 

The interwoven thermoelectric fabric is currently being developed by Researcher Dr Jonathan Plentz and his team at the Leibniz Photonic Institute who are experimenting with how thermoelectric fabrics can be used to aid thermoregulation in extreme scenarios such as for firemen.

Diagram of thermoelectric fabric being interwoven into the an inner white sports vest. From left to right is a white sports vest to a orange cutout of the back, front, and sides of the sport vest that has the thermoelectric fabric within it. The last imageon the right shows 3 layers of the outer polyester, the thermoelectric fabric and the inner polyester. The image also shows cooling represented by blue arrows going towards the inside of the vest and heat represented by red arrows going to the outside of the sports vest.
Inclusively Designed

Inclusive Design was at the core throughout the design development of Phoenix. This was achieved by firstly focusing on individuals with Relapsing Remitting MS which helped to focus the project towards considering particular symptoms such as numbness, primary fatigue, and light sensitivity.


However once the target user group was broadened to consider those with Progressive MS this helped to development elements of the design to consider more severe symptoms such as issues with dexterity, reach, and spasticity. 

This was achieved through multiple solutions throughout the vest system including as shown in the picture to the left the Velcro sides of the outer vest. By making the sides have the ability to open up this made the outer vest accessible and easier for the individual to confidently put on the vest. This feature allowed the vest to either be put on over the individuals head like a regular vest or through the sides of the vest itself.

Side profile of a blue vest on a white male manequin torso. Two hands are opening up the velcro side on the vest.

Champion Users

Throughout the development of Phoenix multiple stakeholders were involved from a range of industries to ensure that the product solution met industry standards and was designed to the highest quality possible.

However the most important involvement within the project was from the users who participated in research and user testing.


In particular the champion users Balraj and Irun who were involved within every decision throughout the project helped to give their perspectives as individuals living with either Relapsing Remitting MS or Primary Progressive MS.

2 men one on the left hand side of the image a young adult and on the right hand side of the image a middle aged adult. Both men have MS with the male on the left st in a chair and the man on the right laid in a medical bed. Both are laughing.
Phoenix Documentary

Phoenix was created by our founder Robert McKinna during his Final Year Project at Loughborough University in the academic year of 2022/23.


To show the development of the project Robert filmed and created a documentary to show the inclusive design focused process of creating Phoenix.

If you would like to view the documentary series please head over to inclus's YouTube channel via the button below:

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