Brooks Rehabilitation, in partnership with Japanese medical company CYBERDYNE, introduces what it’s calling the 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 US offering the treatment.
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 other exoskeleton treatments 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.
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 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. 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.