March 2, 2018 – Brooks Rehabilitation, an industry leader in post-acute physical rehabilitation, announced today its partnership with Japanese medical and social innovation company, CYBERDYNE, INC., to introduce and make available the world’s first advanced robotic treatment device that has been shown to improve a patient’s ability to walk. Individuals with spinal cord injuries can now access FDA-cleared HAL, which is short for Hybrid Assistive Limb, at the Brooks Cybernic* Treatment Center in Jacksonville, FL. The Treatment Center is currently the only facility in the U.S. offering this innovative treatment.
“We’ve already seen the results of improved mobility and ability to walk in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) at several international locations that are providing this technology,” said Dr. Geneva Tonuzi, Medical Director of the Brooks Cybernic Treatment Center. “We are thrilled to finally have this unique technology available here at Brooks Rehabilitation as it opens the door to more research and treatment methods in advancing spinal cord injury treatment.”
Recently implemented in Japan, Germany and other countries, HAL fits to the patient’s lower limbs and trunk, and operates using internal signals from the body. This powered lower extremity exoskeleton is unique from any other exoskeleton treatment available today because the device’s movements are neurologically-controlled by the patient’s volition, and use of its secondary Biofeedback Device features allows the patient to see and adjust the signals they are producing. This functional integration of human neural pathways with modern technology is a landmark advancement for SCI patients nationwide.
How It Works:
- Sensors attach to the patient’s lower extremities.
- When the patient intends to move, muscles receive nerve signals from the brain, and faint bio-electrical signals are detected on the skin’s surface.
- HAL uses sensors to detect these signals and assists with desired movements, while also enhancing strength and stability.
- Active use of neural pathways for voluntary movement with physical feedback to the brain leads to improved ability for the patient to walk on their own.
The vision and innovation for Cyberdyne, Inc. and HAL is that of Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai, President and CEO of Cyberdyne, Inc. and Professor at the University of Tsukuba, Japan.
“Wearing HAL leads to a fusion of human, robot, and information systems,” said Dr. Sankai. “I’m pleased that Cybernic Technology will now benefit patients in the U.S., helping to improve their walking ability as well as gain other functional and physiological benefits.”
Patients who participate in HAL treatments at the Brooks Cybernic Treatment Center can also choose to share their treatment data for clinical research trials that further evaluate the benefits of HAL interventions and future improvement opportunities.