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New remote PT and AI wearable helps stroke patients to walk more easily

New robotic technology seeks to make an improvement with a person’s mobility.

Front view of African-american female physiotherapist helping disabled Caucasian senior woman walk with parallel bars in sports center. Sports Rehab Centre with physiotherapists and patients working. Image from Evolution Devices, with permission for Digital Journal.
Front view of African-american female physiotherapist helping disabled Caucasian senior woman walk with parallel bars in sports center. Sports Rehab Centre with physiotherapists and patients working. Image from Evolution Devices, with permission for Digital Journal.

People who have experienced neurological conditions such as strokes, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease, tend to drag their affected foot. These are termed functional gait disorders.

To help address this, a new wearable device, called the EvoWalk, which is used in conjunction with a remote physical therapy platform, has been developed by Evolution Devices. The company was founded by Pier Mantovani.

The objective of the new technology is to make an improvement with a person’s mobility. The device uses machine learning to bypass the leg nerve. The foot can be lifted at just the right time to help users avoid falls and walk more freely.

Inspiration for the device came about when the founder’s father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he struggled to walk. Physical therapy was critical for addressing the issue. However, getting to the health clinic in person proved not to be easy.

Looking at the experience and the associated issues, Mantovani devised the wearable and founded Evolution Devices, a company that combines the new, virtual physical therapy platform paired with the wearable.

This holistic approach of combining remote physical therapy with an artificial intelligence powered stimulation device and patient app to personalize care is not currently available with any other fall-prevention or rehabilitation therapy.

With the EvoWalk platform, users are able to work with a neuro-certified physical therapists without having to go to therapy in person. Built-in sensors feed real-time motion data to artificial intelligence algorithms and provide actionable metrics through the connected mobile apps.

The EvoWalk device gathers detailed walking data and provides electrotherapy to stimulate muscles at the right time to rehab walking and prevent falls.

A video that shows the technology in action is available on YouTube.

Through this, dedicated physical therapists are able to work remotely with the patient every step of the way, adjusting the wearable as patients make progress.

Based on trials conducted ahead of the launch of the technology, pilot users have seen an up to tenfold increase in walking activity.

The launch of the new device was on September 21st, 2021. The launch was supported by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Toyota Mobility Foundation among others.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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