Thursday, June 09, 2011 - Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan Selected to Study Robotic Legs for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

Media Contact: Cheryl Angelelli

DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is among 10 rehabilitation centers in the country that will participate in an investigational trial of eLEGS. eLEGS is a wearable robot developed by Berkeley Bionics, that powers wheelchair users up to get them standing and walking.

eLEGS is a ready-to-wear, battery-powered exoskeleton that is strapped over the user's clothing. The user initiates the steps by triggering non-invasive movement sensors in the crutches that communicate with the computer carried in a backpack. The patient doesn't bear the weight, however, as the device transfers its load directly to the ground. eLEGS provides unprecedented knee flexion, which translates into the most natural human gait available in any exoskeleton today. The device can be adjusted in a few minutes to fit most people weighing 220 pounds or less, and between 5'2" and 6'2", with at least partial upper body strength.

The rehab hospitals selected for the investigational trial will be the first eLEGS Centers in the world, conducting ongoing research, and offering the device for the rehabilitation of their patients. Physical therapists at Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan’s (RIM) Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery will be using eLEGS to primarily treat spinal cord injury patients for balance, posture and gait training.

“The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery has a history of seeking out the most innovative and state-of-the-art technologies and therapuetic treatments for improving function and quality of life after a spinal cord injury,” says William H. Restum, PhD, President, RIM. “We believe eLEGS is an exciting opportunity to further advance the functional recovery of the patients we serve.” 

Berkeley Bionics plans to introduce eLEGS to the market in early 2012.

To learn more about eLEGS, watch this video

DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is one of the nation’s largest hospitals specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Institute is home to many innovative programs, including the Southeastern Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury System (SEMTBIS), one of only 16 federally designated centers of excellence in the U.S. for the treatment of brain injuries, and the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, a world-class facility designed to implement and study innovative treatments in spinal cord injury recovery. RIM is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). The DMC is proud to be the Official Healthcare Services Provider of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Pistons.