ZeroG Gait & Balance training technology at Mary Free Bed

Source: Mary Free Bed

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital becomes the first hospital in the Midwest to acquire a ZeroG Version 2. This new technology aids patients in gait and balance activities while they still have the safety of being protected by falls. Patient Todd VanZantwick used ZeroG to jog half a dozen paces down the hallway three weeks after he began his physical therapy. VanZantwick was among the first patients to benefit from ZeroG, Mary Free Bed’s new and sophisticated gait and balance training system. It gave VanZantwick the confidence to push himself harder because he knew he wouldn’t fall.

“There’s no way we could have attempted that without this equipment,” Mary Free Bed physical therapy Kristy Simpson said of VanZantwick’s brief run. “Now, we can be more aggressive, because the risk of fall is almost eliminated. And the more aggressive we can be, the more function the patient will recover.

ZeroG is a machine that runs along 85 feet of ceiling-mounted track on the fourth floor of Mary Free Bed’s new hospital in Grand Rapids.

Mary Free Bed Hall walk

ZeroG provides “dynamic” support. Once a patient is trapped into the harness, a therapist can program the machine to provide a certain amount of constant physical support and to “catch” the patient if he or she ventures out of the designated parameters. ZeroG gave VanZantwick the support and leeway to jump and move from side to side, but once he strayed too far or moved too quickly, signaling the machine he might be falling, the ZeroG Harness strap would lock to prevent him from taking a tumble.


Patient Terry Carter is rehabilitating from a spinal cord injury and broken hip. ZeroG provided support as he attempted to step up onto a stool. He also worked on standing from a seated position – without fear he would tumble forward onto the floor. Carter even enjoyed a game of Tetris on ZeroG’s touchscreen by working to control and stack the blocks by jumping or moving his body from left to right.

Mary Free Bed ZeroG Games


“If we have to concentrate on keeping a patient from falling, it’s difficult to also focus on the muscles they’re using and how to best help them improve their walking skills”, Simpson said.

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