Medical staff cheered on Ian Smith as he completed another level of his InMotion ARM therapy — a new robotic technology designed to assist patients with traumatic brain injuries.
The Transitional Learning Center, a post-acute brain injury rehabilitation facility founded by businessman and philanthropist Robert L. Moody Sr., this month debuted a robotic assistive technology for its therapy programs. The InMotion ARM technology monitors patients’ movements during therapy while assisting as needed to help them complete various motor therapy activities, officials said. It also provides more repetitions during a session than a physical therapist could.
Bionik Laboratories Corp., a robotics company focused on providing rehabilitation and assistive technology solutions to people with neurological and mobility challenges, provided the InMotion ARM robotic systems to two of the learning center’s facilities. The technology is the clinical version of an Massachusetts Institute of Technology robot.
The Transitional Learning Center’s Lubbock and Galveston sites will house the new technology, which can be used by a multitude of patients, officials said. Officials from the learning center declined to disclose the price of the robotic technology.
The center will pay monthly rental fees to use two InMotion ARM systems, spreading the cost over an extended period of time, officials said.
This technology was chosen because it can help patients recover more quickly, said Dennis Zgaljardic, the Transitional Learning Center’s clinical program director.
“We felt the InMotion equipment was the best fit for our population,” he said. “It has always been our goal to dabble in new technology. And we are going to continue to look. This is sort of a beginning, so to speak.”
The robotic technology also provides patient results for families seeking to track progress, said Steve Takacs, CEO of the Transitional Learning Center.
“What I like most about the equipment is families can have documented progress of the patient,” he said. “It’s so hard to identify progress in these patients. This piece of robotic equipment actually shows the patient has made process and tracks how their skills have improved.”
Rehabilitation centers using the latest technology available on the market is a practical idea, Bionik regional sales manager Angela Maine said.
“It is new technology in terms of being out in the clinical space,” she said. “It was in research for a long time. The last two years has really been an effort to commercialize it and make sure it’s in clinical settings.”
The center wants to continue to provide patients with new, modern therapy, Zgaljardic said.
“We know technology makes us become more efficient,” he said. “Having the technology helps us provide the maximum amount of assistance to patients. And it is more interactive. These robotics can help patients do better and better.”