After being the first to release a robotic gait orthosis in 2001, the Swiss medical technology company Hocoma now presents the world’s first commercially available robotic arm exoskeleton. As a part of the established Armeo® Therapy Concept, the ArmeoPower was designed for severely affected individuals who have suffered neurological disorders resulting in hand and arm impairment. The ArmeoPower provides an assist-as-needed support in an extensive 3D workspace and a virtual reality exercise environment for a higher patient motivation. The ArmeoPower will further expand Hocoma’s market leadership in robotic rehabilitation therapy.
The Armeo Therapy Concept improves the therapy efficiency with self-initiated, functional and intense exercises for patients who have suffered strokes, traumatic brain injuries or other neurological disorders resulting in hand and arm impairment. It includes different products, each designed for a particular stage in the recovery process. Hocoma now presents a new addition to the Armeo Therapy Concept, the unique ArmeoPower.
The ArmeoPower is a rehabilitative exercise device that has been specifically designed for arm and hand therapy in an early stage of rehabilitation and provides highly repetitive training even for severely affected patients. With its assist-as-needed support provided by the robotic exoskeleton, the ArmeoPower is the world’s first commercially available robotic arm exoskeleton that recognizes when the patient is not able to carry out a movement and guides the patient’s arm as much as needed. It adapts the arm support to the individual needs and changing abilities of each patient – from complete guidance to no support at all.
Intensive training for patients and physical relief for therapists
“Today, I can already use my arm again and accomplish things I couldn’t do before”, says R. Bolliger, a chronic stroke patient, who improved beyond expectations during a pilot trial with a research prototype of the ArmeoPower. He furthermore adds: “The training with the device is fun and makes me go to my limits.” The self-initiated and functional exercises simulate activities of daily living in an extensive 3D workspace and give the patient a real-time Augmented Feedback, which motivates the patients and helps them to improve their motor abilities. Furthermore, the device precisely records the patients’ performance during the training, which can be used to analyze and document the therapy progress. Since the therapist’s physical effort during the therapy session is reduced, the therapist can focus on the patient and the actual training, which leads to a better use of clinical know-how and an optimized patient care.
Clinical trials confirm high expectations
The ArmeoPower has been developed in close collaboration with research partners and is based on the ARMin technology developed at the ETH Zurich and University Hospital Balgrist under the supervision of Prof. R. Riener. Pilot trials have demonstrated in a number of single cases that the therapy of severely and moderately affected stroke patients with the device is safe and effective.* “With the ArmeoPower we are able to train severely affected patients with an intensity that was not possible before”, explains Dr. med. Verena Klamroth-Marganska from the University Hospital Balgrist and ETH Zurich after working with a research prototype of the ArmeoPower in a pilot trial.* During the training, the patients not only improved and sustained their functional gains but were also motivated to actively participate in the therapy.
The first public presentation of the ArmeoPower took place at the successful Rehab Week Zurich 2011, an event combining three leading international conferences in the field of neurorehabilitation and robotics between June 27 and July 1, 2011 at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. You can see the ArmeoPower again at its next public presentation at the First European Neurorehabilitation Congress in Meran, Italy, on October 20-22 as well as at the Medica on November 16-19, 2011 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The ArmeoPower will be commercially available as of end of 2011 (depending of national registration procedures). The first beta versions of the device are already applied by researchers in renowned hospitals in Germany and the USA.
* P. Staubli, T. Nef, V. Klamroth-Marganska, and R. Riener, “Effects of intensive arm training with the rehabilitation robot ARMin II in chronic stroke patients: four single-cases.” Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 46+, 2009. [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1743-0003-6-46
Ever since the successful launch of its first devices in 2000, Hocoma has been expanding its market leadership in robotic rehabilitation therapy for neurological movement disorders. Hocoma is endeavored to find practicable and safe solutions for clinicians and patients for their best wellbeing and user-friendliness, not only during the development but also in future research and clinical application of the products. The Hocoma products have been reviewed in over 110 publications in peer reviewed journals and currently, over 30 groups in more than 20 countries worldwide are conducting research with Hocoma’s devices. In order to optimally fulfil the wishes and requirements of international customers, Hocoma is active in over 60 countries worldwide and has a network of over 30 Sales Partners.