Aretech, LLC, an advanced rehabilitation technology leader, announced the release of TRiP for the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, which allows therapists to apply unexpected external perturbations to their patients in order to teach them how to recover from a loss of balance. TRiP (Training Responses in Postural Rehabilitation) was developed in collaboration with Drs. Fay Horak and Laurie King at the Balance Disorders Laboratory at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
Inadequate stepping responses in the elderly and those with neurological impairments contribute to a loss of balance and falls. With TRiP, ZeroG becomes the first and only technology which can apply measurable and controlled perturbations in a safe and consistent manner to patients while they are standing or ambulating. Therapists can personalize the strength of the perturbation and the direction in which the ZeroG robot will perturb the patient. This gives them the ability to modify and challenge patients with balance disorders.
“ZeroG TRiP is a revolutionary new breakthrough in approaching balance training and fall prevention. Balance recovery involving rapid compensatory stepping is essential to prevent falling. However, learning these techniques requires eliciting a loss of balance which is not typically practiced in rehabilitation due to the safety concerns of falling,” said Joe Hidler, PhD, CEO of Aretech. “Now with TRiP, because they are connected to ZeroG, there is no risk of falling as they practice recovering from a loss of balance. Therapists can safely simulate slips and trips during walking, turning, and stepping backwards within the safe environment of ZeroG.”
TRiP is completely unlike other balance training methods because ZeroG can be used to simulate real-world situations while the person is dynamically moving. In addition, the patient can be completely taken by surprise by not knowing when or in which direction the therapist will perturb them. Other methods such as balance platforms are not realistic scenarios as most falls occur during walking and turning. With platforms, the patient routinely has their feet firmly planted anticipating the disturbance.
“Laboratory studies have shown that postural stepping responses can be improved with practice,” said Fay Horak, PhD, PT, Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University. “Now it is possible for physical therapists to implement this type of training safely with their patients.”
TRiP was designed to be an easy-to-use application on the ZeroG touchscreen and wireless remote. This empowers therapists to quickly choose the strength and direction of a perturbation on the fly so each session can be tailored to each individual. Dr. Hidler anticipates TRiP will be an important tool in a fall prevention program. “By learning the skills practiced with ZeroG TRiP, patients in their daily lives will be better prepared to recognize how to recover from a loss of balance at home and in the community. The hope is that this, in turn, will decrease the likelihood of a fall.”
About ZeroG TRiP
TRiP (Training Responses in Postural Rehabilitation) is a patent pending software algorithm for the ZeroG Gait and Balance System. TRiP allows therapists to apply controlled and measurable perturbations to patients while ambulating or during stationary activities. The framework for ZeroG TRiP is based on the scientific findings from the Balance Disorders Laboratory at OHSU over the last ten years.
About the ZeroG Gait and Balance System
The ZeroG Gait and Balance System has been used by patients since 2008 and is intended for patients in rehabilitation who need dynamic body-weight support and are at a risk of falling. ZeroG gives therapists the opportunity to safely treat a broad range of patient populations with dynamic body-weight support in functional activities such as overground walking, sit-to-stand, getting off the floor and stairs.
Aretech (http://www.aretechllc.com), headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, is a world leader in developing advanced rehabilitation technologies for improving function and independence. The company has a strong commitment to quality, innovation, and developing technology based on evidence-based research.