Northampton Gets New Robot To Help People Walk

11 December 2014, 11:56

A robot to help people who are wheelchair bound or have been left paralysed to walk has been unveiled in Northampton.

The new REX technology, based at the Chris Moody Centre at Moulton College, enhances the mobility of wheel-chair users. It will provide regular out-patient clinics on a private payer basis and in the future 14 other neurological physiotherapy centres in the Midlands, London and Yorkshire will also have one.

REX lifts patients from sitting down into a robot-supported standing position, allowing them to take part in a set of supported walking and stretching exercises designed by specialist physiotherapists.  

Paraylmpic skier Anna Turney, who is from Northants, unveiled the new machinery and is the first patient to be treated with it. She said: “It was great to try the REX with Jon Graham at PhysioFunction. If felt very strange to be upright, but I know I’m in safe hands with PhysioFunction.”

Anna Turney Using Robot

Picture: Paralympic Skier Anna Turney

Wheelchair users are at risk of developing medical complications from sitting down for long periods of time. It is claimed by enabling them to spend more time standing, walking and exercising REX may offer significant health benefits, including improved breathing, maintenance of joint range, and a smaller number of infections.

Crispin Simon, Chief Executive of Rex Bionics, said: “We are delighted to marry our REX technology with PhysioFunction’s treatment expertise. REX has caught the public imagination and we hope that this will enable the widest possible range of people to have access to its quality of life benefits.”

Jon Graham, Chief Executive of PhysioFunction, said: “Exoskeletons offer significant benefits for the management of secondary complications for wheelchair users compared with conventional rehabilitation methods. REX offers additional benefits to the user, because unlike other exoskeletons which require the use of crutches or a walking frame for stability, it allows users to retain the use of their hands.