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Robotics company introduces cloud-based technology to connect devices

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A robotics company specialising in rehabilitation and assistive technology has launched a new cloud-based platform that the company says will enhance patient care and support clinical engagement.

BIONIK Laboratories produces AI-enabled robotic devices for the neurological rehabilitation of the upper limbs, primarily in stroke patients.

The Toronto-based company is now developing the next generation of its latest product, InMotion Connect; a cloud-based analytics solution that aims to support the adoption of its devices in hospitals and rehab facilities.

The company believes this is one of the major barriers to the successful implementation of new systems with clinicians.

Launched in June 2020, the platform seeks to enhance patient care by connecting InMotion devices with BIONIK’s cloud server where the activity of the robot is analysed.

The company says this gives clinicians and management teams the ability to see how its devices are being used and support clinician engagement.

Dr. Eric Dusseux, CEO of BIONIK Laboratories says: “InMotion Connect targets the critical need to improve technology adoption at rehabilitation clinics.

“We monitor the adoption curve of the technology in a hospital, we provide training and we offer support on-site, so the team is constantly improving on the utilisation of the AI technology.

“If you’re a CEO or the director of rehab in a medical institution, you can see in real time the usage of your InMotion device and you can see exactly how many patients use it and for how long.

“Essentially, they have a solution that enables them to understand the productivity of the asset and improve it. It’s a way to stay connected with the researcher, the community, the hospitals and the inpatient rehab facilities.”

In conventional therapy, patients are supported by a therapist and usually perform 30 to 50 movements an hour.

BIONIK says its robotic devices allow patients to achieve up to 300 to 500 movements per hour in their first session and improve to upwards of 1000 to 1500 movements per hour.

“Usually the patient is either spastic or flaccid,” Dusseux says, “So, either they don’t move, and you have to carry them during the rehabilitation, or you have to fight against the patient to help them move.

“With our robotic device we measure 200 times per second the position, the speed, and the acceleration of the arm of the patient and the robot is supporting as needed. And the patient doesn’t even notice it.”

AI technology enables InMotion devices to monitor and report on the patient’s progression in the rehabilitation process. So, if a patient is feeling tired, the device will provide additional support, whereas if the individual is performing well, it may challenge the patient by introducing resistance.

In neurological rehabilitation, therapists aim to improve impairment and functionality. InMotion’s primary application is in improving impairment, which includes strength, range of motion and coordination.

Dusseux says: “Therapists help a lot with patients’ functionality, but if you have a stroke, the first thing you need to improve is the impairment. What the robotic device is doing is supporting and helping the impairment better than conventional therapy. And then, with the help of a therapist, it can support better function.”

Before being acquired by BIONIK Laboratories in 2016, InMotion devices were developed by Interactive Motion Technologies, Inc., a company founded by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. Originally produced for R&D centres, Bionik has since commercialised InMotion technology for use in hospitals and research centres.

The company has 280 of its robotic devices across 15 countries, including the US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK.

Dusseux says: “We developed a clinical version of the robotic device, with the very same software and same technology as the R&D version.

“We are present in hospitals and also in research centres. This is one of the unique things about BIONIK. We have done a lot of clinical trials and published a lot of peer-reviewed medical publications, which make up close to 15% of the total amount of publications for upper limb rehabilitation for upper limb neurological rehabilitation with robotic devices.”

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