A robotics platform for the evaluation and the rehabilitation of the lower limbs and body has been developed by a spin-off of the Italian Institute of Technology. Matthew Stock reports.
This robotic platform could help predict your risk of injury. Called Hunova, it uses biometric analysis to evaluate the lower limbs and body. Seated or standing, Hunova then guides patients through a series of custom-made exercises to strengthen and condition specific parts of the body. SOUNDBITE (English) SIMONE UNGARO, CEO OF MOVENDO TECHNOLOGY, SAYING: "This device is able to profile the biomechanic parameter of each patient and find out what is the best strategy to complete a certain target of recovery depending on the pathology we're talking about... And during the session, the therapist and the patient can work together through the machine to identify what is the best way of following the rehabilitation process." Two electromagnetic platforms - one at the feet and one on the seat level - use integrated force sensors so patients feel resistance feedback during sessions. The physio exercises are presented as video-games; with tensing, flexing and balancing the body acting as the controller. While it's designed to provide custom physiotherapy for all, the makers say it could also be vital for helping the elderly avoid life-threatening injuries. SOUNDBITE (English) SIMONE UNGARO, CEO OF MOVENDO TECHNOLOGY, SAYING: "We will be able to predict the risk of fall of elderly people. That's the first phase of the project, which is very much based on the evaluation side. The second phase would be using the robot to make all the rehabilitation protocols in order to avoid and lower that risk.... it's evaluation-intervention, analysis and robotics, all combined together." Each Hunova platform costs around 100,000 euros. The device, developed at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, is already approved for use in Europe. FDA approval in the U.S. is expected in April.