ReWalk Robotics Ltd., the Israeli developer of a robotic exoskeleton system that helps the paralyzed to walk, has started a clinical study of a new product that will aid the rehabilitation of people who have suffered a stroke.
The company said that a first study participant began using a new “soft exo-suit system,” the ReStore, which is meant to rehabilitate individuals with lower limb disability due to stroke. The patient was at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, where the study is being led by a team of researchers from the Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College.
The study seeks to enroll 40 participants at five of the top rehabilitation hospitals in the US, the company said in a statement last week.
“Launching the clinical study is a crucial step forward in the effort to offer the ReStore as a commercial product for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors worldwide,” said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski in the statement. Spaulding is a renowned rehabilitation facility, he said, and the trial will help patients access this cutting edge technology.
The device, which was unveiled in 2017, is the second product line from ReWalk. It represents the company’s next step in its efforts to develop technologies to serve patients with various forms of lower limb disabilities. It will also allow the still loss-making company, whose shares are traded on the Nasdaq exchange, to expand its offering to a wider market — the stroke population — that that served by its ReWalk exoskeleton, which is aimed at helping paraplegics — those with spinal cord injuries — walk.
The ReStore product is less bulky and less heavy than the ReWalk frame, said Jeff Dykan, the chairman of ReWalk, in a phone interview. And it is also less expensive.
“It is not the very heavy metal structure like the ReWalk; it is soft fabric but a special fabric with cables and motors on one side,” he said. “That enables it to be much less bulky than the ReWalk for spinal cord injury and enables us to sell it at a much lower price.”
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