Yesterday, my colleague, Louis Basenese, told you about how virtual reality is becoming a breakthrough therapy for stroke victims suffering from paralysis.
It’s just one of countless ways that new technology and innovation is transforming the face of healthcare and rehabilitation – and in the process, changing or even saving lives.
Biotech startup, EgzoTech, is the latest company to enter this growing and highly important area.
The company is injecting a dose of high tech into traditional physical therapy with its cutting-edge “rehab robot” – Luna.
The Robot That Can “See” Into Your Nerves
Luna was developed to help rehabilitate patients with nerve and muscle damage.
It’s no gimmick, either.
The robot is equipped with electromyography (EMG) technology – a diagnostic tool that’s used to gauge the state of muscles and the nerves cells around them. When these motor neuron cells send electrical signals to the muscles, the EMG electrodes detect them and determine the strength and overall health of the muscles. It can diagnose nerve or muscle malfunction and any “communication” problems between nerves and muscles.
Using electromyography (EMG), Luna is able to detect damage and electrical currents in muscle that human therapists could otherwise miss. From that, it’s then able to customize a more precise and appropriate physical therapy plan.
EgzoTech’s owner, Michal Mikulski, who’s also an engineer, explains, “We reach a certain stage of disease development… when muscle tension isn’t even visible. But these signals can still be seen on our machines, and Luna is still able to detect them. So when the brain sends a signal to the muscle to flex, even though we don’t see it, Luna is still able to detect it. It detects these signals and causes the movement of the limb, as if it were performed naturally.”
Take a look…
There’s more to Luna than that, too…
More Than Just a Therapist
Because physical therapy can be boring, repetitive, and painful, the EgzoTech team has also built some interactive game-playing abilities into Luna.
Mikulski says this is particularly beneficial when it comes to treating children, because “a child wants to win the game and wants to compete, but in fact, they’re exercising.”
Luna is still a prototype for now, but EgzoTech hopes to have a full version of its “robot physical therapist” on the market later on this year.