Representative Steve Scalise Relearns to Walk with Help from ZeroG

Source:  CBS News

Months after being ambushed by a gunman, Representative Steve Scalise tells 60 Minutes how close he came to dying – and how a series of “little miracles” saved him.

The Republican lawmakers had been practicing in Virginia for a charity baseball game, when a bullet tore through his hip and across his body.  He nearly died that day and has since fought through serious infections and begun the difficult process of relearning to walk.

Scalise ZeroG Overground

Part of his therapy included using Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC.

Click here to view the 60 Minutes piece

Aretech’s ZeroG used in research to help restore the ability to walk following spinal cord injury

Source: Neuroscience News

The ability to walk has been restored following a spinal cord injury, using one’s own brain power, according to research published in the open access Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.

This is the first time that a person with complete paralysis in both legs (paraplegia) due to spinal cord injury was able to walk without relying on manually controlled robotic limbs, as with previous walking aid devices.

The participant, who had been paralyzed for five years, walked along a 3.66m long course using an electroencephalogram (EEG) based system. The system takes electrical signals from the participant’s brain, which then travel down to electrodes placed around his knees to create movement.

Dr. An Do, one of the lead researchers involved in the study, from University of California, Irvine, USA, says: “Even after years of paralysis the brain can still generate robust brain waves that can be harnessed to enable basic walking. We showed that you can restore intuitive, brain-controlled walking after a complete spinal cord injury. This noninvasive system for leg muscle stimulation is a promising method and is an advance of our current brain-controlled systems that use virtual reality or a robotic exoskeleton.”

Mental training was initially needed to reactivate the brain’s walking ability. Seated and wearing an EEG cap to read his brainwaves, the participant trained to control an avatar in a virtual reality environment. He also required physical training to recondition and strengthen his leg muscles.

The participant later practiced walking while suspended 5cm above ground, so he could freely move his legs without having to support himself. On his 20th visit, he translated these skills to walk on the ground and wore the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System for aid and to prevent falls. Over the 19 week testing period, he gained more control and performed more tests per visit.

ZeroG UC Irvine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experimental setup.    Left: The suspended walking test. In response to “Idle” or “Walk” cues displayed on a computer screen (not shown) the participant modulates his EEG by idling or attempting to walk. EEG is sent wirelessly (via Bluetooth communication protocol) to the computer, which processes the data and wirelessly sends a decision to either “Idle” or “Walk” to a microcontroller. The microcontroller (placed in the belt-pack) drives the FES of the femoral and deep peroneal nerves to perform either FES-mediated standing or walking (in place). Right: The overground walking test. In response to verbal cues, the participant performs BCI-FES mediated walking and standing to walk along a linear course and stop at three cones positioned 1.8 m apart. The basic components are: the BCI-FES system, motion sensor system (two gyroscopes and a laser distance meter), and the ZeroG body weight support system to prevent falls. The information flow from EEG to FES is identical to that of the suspended walking test. Note that the participant’s face was scrambled due to privacy concerns Credit: King et al. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2015.

Video of Walk

Kessler Foundation uses the Aretech ZeroG Gait and Balance System to advance research

Source: Globenewswire

The Kessler Foundation acquired the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System to advance their rehabilitation research for people with disabilities. ZeroG will be used in research by Kessler to help explore new ways to help individuals function more independently at home, the community and in the workplace. ZeroG, a robotic body-weight support system mounted in an overhead track, allows individuals to engage in rehabilitative activities safely and independently.

 

ZeroG compliments the other technological resources scientists at Kessler are using and will provide real-time data for mobility research. People of various ages, weight and diagnoses can use the ZeroG for many types of functional activities. Participants can safely sit, stand, squat, climb stairs, use an exercise ball and run up to six miles per hour. In ZeroG, they can walk over ground, on a treadmill or in an exoskeleton, without the fear of falling. Via a wireless interface, the device provides real-time data for mobility research, including distance, speed and duration of walking, levels of body-weight support and falls prevented. Activity can be monitored via ZeroG’s touchscreen or a mobile phone or tablet.

 

Kessler Foundation is using ZeroG Version 2, which is more compact and has a higher weight capacity—a maximum of 400 pounds. Version 2 also provides biofeedback to challenge individuals physically and cognitively. A high-resolution display screen features interactive games and target matching activities such as breaking blocks and bobbing and weaving to avoid objects, which increase motivation and encourage participation.

 

The Kessler Foundation is a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

Motor learning strategies applied to neurorehabilitation

Source:  Kessler Foundation

Dr. Joe Hidler, CEO of Aretech and inventor of the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System discusses the research he and colleagues have done which has served as the catalyst as to why ZeroG was developed. This podcast was hosted by the Northern New Jersey Spinal Injury System with support from the National Institute on disability and Rehabilitation Research. US Department of Education grant H133N110020.

Dr. Hidler explains that one of his favorite quotes in relation to motor learning comes from John Krakauer, M.A., M.D., “Rehabilitation needs to emphasis techniques that promote the formation of an appropriate internal model and not just the repetition of movements.”  Dr. Hidler describes how movements occur using internal model formations which start at birth and continue into adulthood. How does this work in stroke patients who have been using their internal models their entire life which now no longer are appropriate? Everything changes so now there is inefficient motor control.

Error signals are very important in the learning process. The variability of tasks and the task variability in the acquisition phase is very important and improves performance in subsequent sessions in the generalizing of learning new tasks. The ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System differs from other robotic rehabilitation systems which move the limbs for the patient. ZeroG builds on the basics of motor learning and motor control strategies to help progress patients while learning variability of tasks.

Aretech to showcase ZeroG at APTA-CSM

Source: PR Web

Aretech is showcasing Version 2 of the ZeroG Gait and Balance System at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana February 4-7. ZeroG contains many unique features, not found in similar systems which present a significant advancement to therapists in the treatment options for their patients in gait, balance and practicing functional activities.

Aretech’s ZeroG is the only robotic overground system using dynamic body-weight support that has interactive balance programs with biofeedback, interactive games played through movements, dynamic fall recovery, treadmill integration and custom harnesses with shaping handles.

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Advantages of Using ZeroG

  •     Safely treat the widest range of patients, with the widest range of diagnoses, across the widest range of activities.
  •     Patients can safely begin their walking therapy early after neurological and orthopedic injuries, with early and intensive therapy being the most effective at promoting recovery.
  •     Therapy intensity can be modulated with dynamic body-weight support.
  •     Biofeedback motivates and cues patients.
  •     Lowers the risk of injury to patients and therapists.
  •     A single therapist can train even the largest, most impaired patients.
  •     Functional activities such as obstacle avoidance, sit-to-stand, floor transfers and stairs can be practiced safely.
  •     Monitor and track performance and functional progress.

ZeroG has the highest performance, safety and quality in its class with new features to help patients in achieving optimal recovery outcomes.

Aretech ZeroG is used in the Walk Again Project

Source: BBC

A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton. Juliano Pinto, a 29-year-old with complete paralysis of the lower trunk, performed the symbolic kick-off at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. Using his robotic suit, Mr Pinto kicked the official ball a short distance along a mat laid down by the touchline.

The identity of the young volunteer was kept a secret until after the event. His robotic exoskeleton was created by a team of more than 150 researchers led by Brazilian neuroscientist Dr Miguel Nicolelis.

Dr Nicolelis tweeted called the event a “great team effort” and afterwards tweeted: “We did it!!!”

“It was up to Juliano to wear the exoskeleton, but all of them made that shot. It was a big score by these people and by our science,” he commented.

The neuroscientist, who is based at Duke University in the US, is a leading figure in the field of brain-machine interfaces. In breakthrough work published in 2003, he showed that monkeys could control the movement of virtual arms on an avatar using just their brain activity.

Paraplegic 
ZeroG is used in conjunction with the mind-controlled exoskeletons in the lab. The identity of the young paraplegic – seen here training in the lab – was kept a secret until after the event
Dr Miguel Nicolelis and paraplegic

Dr Nicolelis (R) is a leader in the field of brain-machine interfaces

The scientists have been working under the banner of a consortium called the Walk Again Project. In a statement, the consortium said the World Cup demonstration would be “just the beginning” of a future “in which people with paralysis may abandon the wheelchair and literally walk again”.

Dr Nicolelis had been training eight patients at his lab in Sao Paulo, all of whom were over 20 years of age, with the oldest about 35. “It’s the first time an exoskeleton has been controlled by brain activity and offered feedback to the patients,” Dr Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University, told the AFP news agency

“Doing a demonstration in a stadium is something very much outside our routine in robotics. It’s never been done before.”

The exoskeleton uses a cap placed on the patient’s head to pick up brain signals and relay them to a computer in the exoskeleton’s backpack.

Patient in exoskeleton

Mr Pinto was one of eight volunteers trained by Dr Nicolelis

This then decodes the signals and sends them to the legs. The robotic suit is powered by hydraulics, and a battery in the backpack allows for approximately two hours of use.  “The basic idea is that we are recording from the brain and then that signal is being translated into commands for the robot to start moving,” Dr Gordon Cheng, at the Technical University of Munich, who is a member of the team, told the BBC in May.

Dr Cheng led the development of a form of artificial skin for the exoskeleton. This skin consists of flexible printed circuit boards, each containing pressure, temperature and speed sensors. It is applied on the soles of the feet and allows the patient to receive tactile stimulation when walking with the exoskeleton. When the robotic suit starts to move and touches the ground, signals are transmitted to an electronic vibration device on the patient’s arm, which stimulates their skin.

After lots of practice, the brain starts associating the movements of the legs with the vibration in the arm. In theory, the patient should start to develop the sensation that they have legs and that they are walking.

The suit has been named Bra-Santos Dumont, which combines the three-letter designation for Brazil and Alberto Santos-Dumont, the aviation pioneer who was born in the country’s southern state of Minas Gerais.

Aretech Releases ZeroG Version 2

Aretech announced today it has released Version 2 (V.2) of the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System, which was unveiled last week at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting in Las Vegas, NV. ZeroG V.2 has the same safety, quality and proven performance1 as the previous version of ZeroG with added innovative features which are the first of their kind in the rehabilitation field. Some of the new features include an anticipatory balance program with biofeedback, the integration of Google GlassTM, larger patient capacity, a smaller and more responsive trolley that supports higher walking speeds, tools for researchers, expanded data recording and enhanced treadmill integration.

About the ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System

ZeroG, invented by Aretech CEO, Dr. Joe Hidler, provides patients dynamic body-weight support as they practice walking, balance activities, and other Activities of Daily Living with simultaneous fall protection. With fully integrated Woodway treadmill controls in the ZeroG software, patients can also practice treadmill-based gait training. ZeroG monitors important information at more than 1,000 times per second, so that if a fall is detected, the system can safely catch the patient. And because its trolley rides on a customized ceiling track, there are no barriers between the therapist and the patient. This truly encourages patient-therapist interaction. With a press of a button on a touchscreen computer or wirelessly on a Google NexusTM tablet, therapists can adjust the amount of body-weight support, fall distance, and other parameters in order to modulate the intensity and complexity of each training session. Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance Training System is listed with the Food and Drug Administration and is certified to safety standard IEC 60601-1, 3rd edition.

ZeroG exercise band

Advantages of Using ZeroG

  • Patients can safely begin their walking therapy early after neurological and orthopedic injuries, with early and intensive therapy being key factors related to the recovery of walking in neurological injuries2.
  • The system provides the highest level of safety to the patient, removing the potential for a fall. ZeroG also reduces the risk of injuries to therapists.
  • Balance activities with biofeedback can be practiced safely with fall protection and dynamic body-weight support.
  • A single therapist can train even the largest, most impaired patients.
  • Since the system is ceiling mounted, subjects can practice obstacles such as stairs and uneven terrain, practice sit to stand tasks, and can use assistive devices.
  • ZeroG records training parameters such as patient walking distance, number of falls prevented, min & max body-weight support, and many others. This information can be used to track a patient’s recovery.
  • With fully integrated Woodway treadmill controls, therapists can control all aspects of the training session through a single touch screen interface and can monitor treadmill training parameters such as distance walked, treadmill speed and more.