29 Sep ABLE stands out at RehabWeek 2022
RehabWeek is a one-week event that brings together clinical, scientific, and industry professionals in the field of rehabilitation technology to foster cross-disciplinary exchange and communication, promoting the development of relationships and collaborations. RehabWeek includes keynote lectures, scientific presentations, clinical case studies, panel discussions, and poster presentations.
ABLE Human Motion participated in RehabWeek 2022 across multiple activities, which include workshop presentations, panel discussions and product demonstrations. Let’s have a look at it!
ABLE Human Motion participated in RehabWeek 2022 from July 25-29 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, one of the most prominent international conferences in rehabilitation technology.
DAY 1 – Industry Workshop at RehabWeek 2022
On the first day at RehabWeek 2022, our team officially presented the new ABLE Exoskeleton during a 90 minutes Industry Workshop with over 100 registered attendees.
Katlin Kreamer-Tonin, Product Manager at ABLE, facilitated the session introducing the company and the different speakers that participated in the workshop. But she was not the star of the show. The engineering work of all of our team, and our amazing exoskeleton pilots Jana and Ricard were definitely the highlights.
First, Prof. Dr. Ing. Rüdiger Rupp presented relevant clinical background on exoskeleton technology and clinical practice. Mr Rupp is the Head of Experimental Neurorehabilitation at Heidelberg University Hospital. And truly a specialist in the field who has authored over 130 publications. He was the Principal Investigator on a clinical trial that we performed at Heidelberg University Hospital with the ABLE Exoskeleton. Endpoints were achieved successfully in the clinical trial. Demonstrating that the ABLE Exoskeleton is safe and that its implementation into clinical practice is feasible. He also presented the improvements found in clinical outcomes. And the benefits for patients and therapists during rehabilitation with the exoskeleton.
After this great clinical introduction, Katlin handed it over to Alfons Carnicero, the co-founder and CEO of ABLE Human Motion. He presented the vision of the company, the milestones achieved in the first 3 years and the future challenges. Alfons introduced our new generation of light, easy-to-use and accessible robotic exoskeletons. That aim to empower people with disabilities through increased mobility and independence. He also highlighted a couple of features: the different ways to control the device and the modes to initiate steps.
This set the stage for the Case Studies. Live demonstrations where 2 individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) at different neurologic levels walked using this new robotic device. This was an opportunity to see first-hand how our exoskeleton works!
Helena López, the Clinical Specialist at ABLE and physiotherapist with more than 12 years of experience, managed the session with the exoskeleton. During the demonstration, Mark Wright and Franziska Herzog, physiotherapists in neurorehabilitation at Institut Guttmann (Spain) and University Hospital Heidelberg (Germany), commented on the different activities that the pilots (exoskeleton users) were doing.
They also discussed how this new device can be integrated into clinical practice.
The workshop was a great opportunity to showcase the device. Which is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between clinicians, engineers, and end-users. Together we have created a breakthrough innovation for people with spinal cord injury!
Scientific Workshop at RehabWeek 2022
On the afternoon of the first day at RehabWeek 2022, Joan Lobo, Rehabilitation Engineer at ABLE Human Motion, organised together with Laura Marchal Crespo (TU Delft), Josep Maria Font (UPC), Massimo Sartori (University of Twente), and Cristina Bayón (University of Twente), a scientific workshop entitled “Modelling and Control Strategies in Lower Limb Exoskeletons for Gait Rehabilitation After Brain Injury”. The aim of the workshop was to present state-of-the-art works on novel modelling and control approaches for lower-limb exoskeletons for gait neurorehabilitation after brain injury, and studies on their clinical effectiveness.
The workshop combined expert speakers from different fields (industry, engineering research, clinical research). A showcase of exoskeleton prototypes. And ended with a round table discussion.
DAY 2 and 3 – ABLE at the exhibition space in RehabWeek 2022
Outside of the presentations, ABLE Human Motion also participated in RehabWeek 2022 as an exhibitor in Booth number 10. In the exhibition, companies showcased their products and gave hands-on demos in 1:1 or small group settings. It was also a great place to discuss specific questions or cases from clinicians.
The exhibition space ranged from moments full of conversations, to a packed and lively crowd during coffee breaks, to enthusiasm and fun during the welcome reception (where Ricard even wore the exoskeleton to have a drink at the bar!). There was never a quiet moment at the booth!
We were happy to engage in conversations at the booth with top rehabilitation clinics from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, and the United States. We had great discussions about new collaborations, clinical investigations, and future developments. It was amazing to be together with so many experts in the field of neurorehabilitation, and their feedback after trying the device was extremely positive!
A special moment for Katlin Kreamer-Tonin (Product Manager at ABLE) was when Sint Maartenskliniek came by the booth to try out the exoskeleton. Katlin’s graduate school thesis was based on leading-edge exoskeleton research done at their centre. So it felt like things were coming full circle when she could see them trying the ABLE Exoskeleton and giving their feedback on the device. And even more exciting is that this fall we will start a collaboration project with them (more details coming soon!).
Another highlight for Alfons Carnicero (Co-founder and CEO at ABLE) was getting to meet with Trent Maruyama. The Program Manager for Rehabilitation Technology at Barrow Neurological Institute (Arizona, USA). Trent is a longtime expert in exoskeletons and robotic rehabilitation technology. And Barrow Neurological Institute is one of the top leading clinical institutions in the United States. Even though Trent has seen almost everything at this point, he wanted to have a video of himself walking inside the ABLE Exoskeleton and seemed pleasantly surprised.
Finally, we got to celebrate with the rehab tech community by dancing the night away at the big and beautiful liner “SS Rotterdam”. We continued to get acquainted with the participants of the exhibition in a non-working atmosphere. Together with our colleagues from Hobbs Rehabilitation we took some beautiful photos against the backdrop of the Rotterdam embankment and continued the conversation over a delicious dinner.
Thanks RehabWeek exhibition organizer Martina Rebekka Spiess for throwing a great party!
DAY 4 – Round table organized by RESC ETH Zürich at REHABWEEK 2022
On Day 4, Mark Wright presented the results of the clinical trial with the ABLE Exoskeleton performed at Institut Guttmann and Heidelberg University Hospital. And was awarded the 4th prize at the Scientific Poster competition!
Congratulations to Mark, Franziska, Rudiger, Eloy Opisso and the other authors of the publication!
On top of being a star in the poster presentation, Mark was working tirelessly in the booth all week to discuss the exoskeleton from a clinical perspective with visitors. We are so lucky to have the clinical support of clinical partners like Institut Guttmann and Heidelberg University Hospital!
Later, our CEO Alfons Carnicero participated in a roundtable organized by ETH Zurich’s Competence Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Science (RESC), on how to make assistive technology more accessible at a global scale. The discussion was moderated by Oliver Stoller (Executive Director at RESC). And had the participation of excellent speakers such as Chapal Khasnabis (Head of the Access to Assistive Technology and Medical Devices Unit at World Health Organization), Susanne Seidinger (Director Global Market Access Management at Ottobock), Christoph Jo. Müller (Co-President Digital Assistive Technology Europe, DATEurope), Luc de Witte (President of GAATO), Diana Pacheco (Center for Rehabilitation in Global Health Systems, University of Lucerne).
It was a great honour to speak alongside these high-profile scientists and decision-makers. How can we make users afford appropriate technologies at the highest technical standard? How can we prove return on investment and socio-economic impact? How can we facilitate global access to innovative solutions? These and other questions were raised during the discussion.
With this, we conclude our participation at RehabWeek 2022 with many meaningful connections, discussions and new potential collaborations.
It is difficult to describe in one article the whole gamut of emotions, experiences and impressions that our team gained during RehabWeek 2022. We want to express our deep gratitude to everyone who took part in the preparation and holding of this important event. Thanks to the entire ABLE team who have been working behind the scenes for months to create a groundbreaking product and deserve a big round of applause. And thank you to all of our ABLE pilots – you were instrumental in building the ABLE Exoskeleton. Special thanks to Jana Arimany and Ricard Hernandez for their willingness and enthusiasm to drive this far to demonstrate the device. It’s hard to believe, but during the exhibition days, Ricard walked more than 10,000 steps with the exoskeleton. Thanks for trusting it’s a pleasure to walk together! 🚶♀️🤖
DAY 5 – Visit to Sint Maartenskliniek
On the last day of our stay in the Netherlands, we visited Sint Maartenskliniek. A leading hospital specializing in the treatment of diseases affecting posture and mobility. The clinic staff has extensive experience in clinical research in the field of rehabilitation medicine and has participated in many projects related to innovative developments of gait training technology. We demonstrated the operation and abilities of our ABLE Exoskeleton and tried the latest state-of-the-art rehabilitation technologies. In the near future, we are looking forward to a very interesting and long-term joint work.
We spent five unforgettable days in Rotterdam at RehabWeek 2022. Gained invaluable experience and new knowledge, acquaintances and cooperation, and met with friends and colleagues. We are so happy we were part of RehabWeek 2022 and it inspires and motivates us to new achievements. And to continue with their mission to make exoskeleton technology accessible for all.