Robot-assisted rehabilitation – ROBERT® and KUKA facilitate mobilization

Life Science Robotics has developed a medical product for robot-assisted therapy and for mobilizing patients. For this, they have made use of the LBR Med from KUKA, which is ideally suited for integration into the medical product thanks to its medical precertification.

ROBERT® rehab robot mobilizes patients

After surgery or after a stroke, it is often beneficial from a medical perspective to move the patient’s joint and muscles intensively over a sustained period in order to improve healing. If this mobilization does not take place, complications may arise, such as restricted mobility at a later stage. The easy-to-use rehab robot ROBERT® from Life Science Robotics (LSR) in Aalborg, Denmark has been developed to prevent this from happening. “With our solution, we want to help mobilize patients faster and more efficiently while easing the burden on nursing staff,” states Keld Thorsen, CEO of Life Science Robotics.

Keld Thorsen, CEO of Life Science Robotics, demonstrates the possibilities with ROBERT®.

Robot-assisted therapy eases the burden on nursing staff

A patient is lying in bed after surgery has taken place. The nurse pushes a device into the room with a multi-jointed arm: this is ROBERT®, the rehab robot. The nurse attaches the robot arm to the patient’s leg, for example. Pressing the start button causes ROBERT® to raise the leg slightly. Now the nurse can manually perform the therapeutic movements. ROBERT® memorizes this movement so that it can then perform it independently exactly as demonstrated and as often as required. In the event of abrupt motions or any influence from other unexpected forces, the device stops immediately for safety reasons.

 

The ROBERT® rehab robot independently performs the motions shown to it by the nursing staff.
The ROBERT® rehab robot helps patients to regain mobility more quickly following surgery.

Rehab with robots – practical experience for practical applications

The starting point was practical experience at the local university hospital. “Nursing staff there carried out the rehabilitation measures on patients manually. That was physically demanding work and took a lot of time at the expense of more highly skilled tasks. The idea was to automate the process.” The problem was that the prototype incorporated the arm of an industrial robot. “We very quickly realized that it would be really difficult to obtain the necessary certifications for a medical product,” recalls Rune Kristensen from LSR. We ideally needed a robot which was capable of receiving certification, as the key component, which would allow a solution to be developed more quickly and easily.

Completion in close collaboration

This is where KUKA came into play. “We had heard that the company had just developed the LBR Med at that time: a lightweight robot intended specifically for medical technology,” says Keld Thorsen. The LBR Med is facilitating the certification process. It is the only robot certified for integration in medical products in accordance with the CB Scheme. It quickly became clear that the LBR Med and ROBERT® belonged together. “KUKA provided us with the services of a development engineer who gave us detailed insights into how the robot works,” recalls Keld Thorsen. The greatest challenge was that ROBERT® had to be very easy to handle despite its high complexity. “After all, it is operated by nursing staff or therapists and not by technical personnel,” as Rune Kristensen remarks.

 

Relief for daily work: while ROBERT® performs the movements, nursing staff can look after patients.

“Intensity Matters” has become economically viable with the rehab robot

ROBERT® works very precisely, individually and flexibly. It is capable of performing exactly the same movements over and over again – without interruption, fatigue or time restrictions. “Intensity Matters” is a guiding principle in rehabilitation and has become economically viable for the first time through the robotic assistance of ROBERT®. The solution eases the burden on nursing staff, who can carry out patient-related activities during the mobilization and monitor the treatment or look after other patients.


With ROBERT® we are basically improving efficiency in the healthcare sector by mobilizing patients faster and thus easing the burden on nursing staff.

Keld Thorsen, CEO of Life Science Robotics

Efficient, simple and easy on resources – Rehab with robots as a trend of the future

“Demographers tell us that in 20 years there will be many more people over 60 than there are today. This means there will be a greater need for care on the one hand, but fewer nursing staff available on the other.” ROBERT® fills this gap. The rehab robot is already being used today in Poland and Finland. “We are currently working on setting up further sales channels through partners,” says Keld Thorsen. In the area of after-sales service, he is placing his hopes on the partnership with KUKA and their worldwide customer support network. “I am confident that we will reach an agreement in the near future – and that ROBERT® will then be able to help mobilize even more patients.”

 

ROBERT® is capable of performing exactly the same movements over and over again – without interruption.
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