Advances in Occupational Therapy Technology: Rehab Week 2017

Advances in Occupational Therapy Technology: Rehab Week 2017

Curious about what's on the market for occupational therapy technology? This post gives an overview of therapy tech companies that were at Rehab Week 2017 and is a great overview of technology that is currently on the market! 

There is no better place to take in emerging technology in occupation therapy than Rehab Week.

I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 conference in London and I am excited to update you on the technology advances that are coming to rehabilitation.

Whether you are looking to invest in new rehab tech or simply feel inspired, this post is for you.

What is Rehab Week?

What do engineers, researchers, therapists, physicians, neuroscientists and students from all over the world have in common?  

No, this is not a complicated riddle- they all took place in Rehab Week 2017 in London, United Kingdom to share knowledge, new products, research in progress, best practice and collegiality toward the aim of helping restore function for patients with neurological injuries and illness.

As you might imagine, the energy was buzzing with bright minds, new ideas and inquiry as we all took our place as students of the world and of the same craft.  

Four simultaneous conferences were held as part of the 3rd ever Rehab Week conference in the bustling city of London after previous conferences held in 2011 in Zurich and 2015 in Valencia.  

The conferences represented were the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), the International Neurorehabilitation Symposium (INRS), the Annual Meeting of the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS) and the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (BSRM).  

In addition, the conference was supported by IISART, the International Industry Society in Advanced Rehabilitation Technology.  The conference kicked off with a challenge by the conference chair, Nick Donaldson, to “make connections, ask questions and not just settle for any answer”.  

Lauren Sheehan, OT Techie at Rehab Week

How Rehab Week Impacted My Own OT Practice

As an occupational therapist and Clinical Manager of a Rehab Tech company, it was an opportunity to learn from those that asked questions of the mechanics of our products and gave me a chance to engage in dialog about how we’re using technology for good in the world of rehab.  

Some of the major items for discussion;

  1. How we make rehab technology more financially accessible and
  2. How we can continue to share knowledge across disciplines.  

(I’d love to hear your thoughts in the discussion string.)

For the first time, I was charged with answering “how” the products do what they do as well as “why” and “what” the application of our technology is in the rehabilitation of patients after stroke and brain injury.  

What Companies Were There? (And What They Were Featuring)

The expo allowed over 30 vendors to update the community on new developments in rehabilitation technology; newly improved rehabilitation robots, prosthetics technology and virtual reality solutions for rehabilitation.  

The combination of the four conferences yielded 522 poster presentations by students focused on the development of new assessments, robotics technologies, and algorithms to continue to make the products that we have available in our “toolkit” of items for neuro-rehab, more intuitive, accessible and supportive to the end user.

To learn about the latest in Neuro-Rehabilitation Technologies, visit the RehabWeek Vendor Websites:

Upper Extremity Robotics

  • Axinesis:  Robotic upper extremity rehabilitation solution
  • Egzotech:  Robotic upper extremity rehabilitation solution with EMG triggered electrical stimulation
  • Hasomed:  Arm laboratory for upper extremity rehabilitation and RehaCog for cognitive training
  • Hocoma:  Upper extremity robotics and virtual reality options for neuro-rehab through the Armeo line of products
  • Rehab Robotics:  Hand of Hope, upper extremity sEMG driven robotic hand rehab
  • Shanghai Fourier Intelligence Co.:  M2 upper extremity robotic training device and lower extremity exoskeleton.
  • Tyromotion:  Robotics and virtual reality combinations for upper extremity and cognitive training

Upper Extremity Rehab Using Virtual Reality

  • Hocoma:  Known best for upper extremity robotics solutions, new virtual reality product Armeo Senseo
  • Kinestica:  Bimeo, sensor based upper extremity rehab in a virtual environment
  • Mindmaze:  Mind MotionPRO and Mind MotionGO, upper extremity rehabilitation for clinic and home use (not yet available in the US)
  • Neofect:  Rapael Smart Board, Glove and Smart Pegboard for upper extremity, hand and fine motor training through biofeedback; available for clinic or home use
  • Saebo:  Saebo ReJoyce and SaeboVR for upper extremity rehabilitation in virtual environment.  Other neuro upper extremity devices available including SaeboFlex and SaeboStretch
  • Tyromotion:  Robotics and virtual reality combinations for upper extremity and cognitive training
  • Virtualware:  Virtual rehabilitation system using online platform for home
  • YouRehab LTD:  YouGrabber and YouKicker for interactive upper and lower extremity rehab
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Electrical Stimulation

  • Bioness:  Best known for their electrical stimulation technology, H200 for the upper extremity and L300 for the lower extremity.  
  • Egzotech:  Robotic upper extremity rehabilitation solution with EMG triggered electrical stimulation
  • Fesia Technology:  Functional Electrical Stimulation for Gait, Fesia Walk
  • Thera-Trainer:  Training devices for FES cycling, standing frames and gait training (body-weight support)

Cognitive Training

  • Bioness: Best known for their electrical stimulation technology, check out their BITS system for visual and cognitive training
  • Hasomed: Arm laboratory for upper extremity rehabilitation and RehaCog for cognitive training
  • Rehab Robotics:  SmarTable, multiplayer cognitive training system
  • Tyromotion:  Upper extremity and cognitive training through new Myro system

Gait Training and/or Exoskeleton Walking Support

  • Lutz Medical Engineering:  Body weight support device for gait training
  • Parker Hannifin Corporation:  Robotic exoskeleton for gait support and training
  • Rex Bionics:  Lower extremity robotic exoskeleton for training, walking and standing
  • Shanghai Fourier Intelligence Co.:  M2 upper extremity robotic training device and lower extremity exoskeleton
  • Tecnalia: ArmAssist assistive robot for upper extremity rehabilitation
  • Techno Concept:  Dynafoot and Vibramoov, gait rehabilitation sensor assessment and biofeedback training
  • Thera-Trainer:  Training devices for FES cycling, standing frames and gait training (body-weight support)
  • Woodway:  Medical treadmills and gait support systems
  • Motek:  Virtual reality based gait and balance training

Other

How OTs Can Keep Up on Latest Tech Trends

If you have a particular interest in the latest research on neurorehabilitation, hearing from some of the leading industry experts for updates on technology and research, consider attending the next Rehab Week event.  

The next Rehab Week Conference will be held in Toronto in 2019 and promises to be just as invigorating.  

For more information on the groups represented at the Rehab Week conference including the great work that they’re doing in support of the scientific community, visit their corresponding websites.  

Join us in future years to support how occupational therapy is participating in the dialog and development of neuro-rehab technology solutions both on the industry side and more importantly as advocates for the end user.  

What Are Your Thoughts/Questions About the Future of Occupational Therapy Technology?

I came away with more questions than answers and would love to hear your thoughts,

1. How we make rehab technology more financially accessible and

2. How we can continue to share knowledge across disciplines?  


About the Author

Lauren Sheehan, Occupational Therapist

Lauren is celebrating her 10th year as an occupational therapist in 2017.  Her dream to join a technology company was realized when dreaming about the possibility of doing something “outside the box” after spending the last decade in outpatient neuro clinical practice and most recently in administration and management roles.  Lauren has served in various roles on her state occupational therapy associations and is a proponent of being an active member, particularly in advocating for occupational therapy through legislation and contact with elected officials.  She has enjoyed planning and organizing Washington state’s “Hike the Hill” event for the last three years. 

Lauren has published multiple articles with OT Practice and is excited to be back to writing, starting with OT Potential, in this new intersection of neuro-rehab, OT and virtual reality.  Lauren believes that OT professionals are poised to be product designers, user experience experts and consultants as it relates to technology solutions that meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.  

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