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Smart Robotic Orthosis Improves Knee Mobility

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 12 May 2021
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Image: An air-powered knee brace enables greater mobility for OA patients (Photo courtesy of Roam Robotics)
Image: An air-powered knee brace enables greater mobility for OA patients (Photo courtesy of Roam Robotics)
An innovative orthosis device leverages robotics and proprietary algorithms to dramatically improve daily life for those experiencing knee pain.

The Roam Robotics (San Francisco, CA, USA) Ascend is designed to reduce the burden on an injured knee by unloading the quadriceps muscle so as to help relieve pain and support functional improvement in patients with osteoarthritis (OA), knee instability, and/or weak quadriceps. The customized, lightweight, comfortable device senses the body's movement, automatically adjusts to the wearer's needs, and provides precise support at the right moment for target muscle groups. Ascend highlights include:
  • An individually fabricated brace tailored to user anatomy, with customized carbon fiber shells that provide a lightweight and comfortable experience for everyday activities. Varus/valgus straps help control motion and rebalance weight distribution inside the knee joint.
  • State-of-the-art embedded sensor technology that intuitively senses and supports everyday movements, such as getting up from sitting positions or going up and down steps. The novel technology can also help those struggling with strenuous or extended activities, such as gardening or long walks on the beach without pain or discomfort.
  • SmartPack, a wearable and stylish backpack equipped with onboard microprocessors that utilize proprietary algorithms to recognize user intent and actively direct the device. A wired remote with an OLED display allows users to be in control and easily manage support levels and activity modes on demand, with an idle button to instantly suspend smart orthosis features. SmartPack also houses an air compressor and power source.
  • “Roam is focused on a massively underserved market. More than 20% of the global population is limited by their body's mobility, and as medical advancements help people live longer that number is only going to increase,” said Tim Swift, CEO and founder of Roam Robotics. “Our approach to wearable robotics works seamlessly with the human body to help people lead healthier, happier and more active lives, unhindered by physical limitations.”

The global need for OA bracing is growing in part due to an aging population, the widespread surge in obesity rates, and the overall rise in demand for conservative treatment methods. Studies have shown that 10-20 years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, knee OA rates are more than 50%, and are progressively impacting younger patients.

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