Last week, I highlighted an event held by the Rehabilitation Hospital of Montana (RHOM) that would show off some state-of-the-art technology for stroke rehabilitation as well as celebrate Stroke Awareness Month. Established in 2019, the RHOM is the only freestanding inpatient rehab hospital in Montana, and better than 80% of its patients are discharged once therapy ends. Getting to see the technology in action was excellent, and there's a lot to discuss, so let's go over the new technology and see how it can help rehab stroke patients.

AI-powered robotics that can sense slight movements

Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare
Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare

The BIONIK InMotion Arm is an AI-powered robotic arm designed to provide neuroplasticity rehabilitation, which allows stroke patients to regain motor functions. BIONIK Labs CCO Loren Wass stated,

It requires high repetition, high use, high intensity. Which is what robotics can do over things such as traditional therapy. So, robotics brings a big, big advantage to that.

The InMotion system detects even slight movements in the upper extremities and can achieve 600 to 1000 movements in just one hour, as opposed to 30 to 60 movements per hour in traditional therapy sessions.

A virtual reality system that is both immersive and rehabilitating

Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare Media
Credit: Trent Flager, Townsquare Media

This virtual reality set-up is the REAL y-Series from Penumbra. The user engages in immersive activities that can be adjusted in strength and type of use from a tablet. Jennifer Wong, Vice President of Market Development for Penumbra described users who use the REAL y-Series as,

Patients often work longer, often work harder. Because when they're transported to another world in the REAL y-Series, they forget that they're doing real, hard work. Instead, they are interacting with the virtual environment, they are actually reaching higher, working a lot harder because they're having fun.

According to the REAL Series website, the REAL y-Series is designed to offer full body rehabilitation with a focus on strengthening, range of motion, and postural control. It also promotes better health, including improving functional skills, cognition, and stress management.

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With the addition of this new technology, the Rehabilitation Hospital of Montana becomes the first and only rehabilitation facility in Montana to utilize virtual reality and AI-powered robotics for patient care. More information about the RHOM can be found on their website here, and information about BIONIK Labs and Penumbra can check them out online as well.

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