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All About the InMotion Robot

Britannica defines rehabilitation robots as “any automatically operated machine that is designed to improve movement in persons with impaired physical functioning.” It names the MIT-Manus as the first rehabilitation robot. This article will explore the genesis and history of the InMotion robotic systems.

What’s the connection between the MIT-Manus and the InMotion robot of today??

The InMotion Robot of today was first developed in 1989 as a part of a thesis paper at MIT. The original research device was called the ‘MIT-Manus’ and the device still appears in research studies today.

Manus means “hand” in Latin

There are over 200 peer-reviewed studies that have been done since the inception of the device in the late 80’s, and the InMotion robot of today is one of the most highly researched rehabilitation robots.

The science behind InMotion Robotics

The MIT-Manus was designed to train and map upper extremity reach and uses a mathematical model based upon the theory that reach follows a bell-shaped velocity curve. Initial research that inspired the InMotion device found that patients that had sustained a stroke fell below the normative velocity curve for reach patterns.

This model was based on previous studies that suggested that two-joint arm movements, with practice, exponentially reduced variability in the trajectories of the hand over time. See the abstract. In layman’s terms, smoothness and coordination of movement were found to improve over time with movement practice in the upper extremity.

The device became a power-house for state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, tracking kinematic data like positioning, velocity, and forces.

Bionik, the creators of the ARC exoskeleton device purchased InMotion Technologies in 2016. There have been multiple generations of the InMotion robot including the first MIT-Manus research device, the InMotion Wrist (no longer manufactured), InMotion ARM, and latest generation InMotion ARM/HAND.

What populations does it treat?

The InMotion robotic systems are designed to be used with patients who have neurological injuries. Research supports the use of the robot for treatment of stroke, spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury and other neurologic conditions. Check out this sampling of research.  Adults along with pediatric populations can safely use the InMotion robot.

The robot can be used with all patient ability levels in the acute stage of stroke and neurological rehabilitation. A diverse range of patient populations can use the device, and a stroke patient in an acute rehabilitation setting does not need to have any movement in the upper body to use the device.

This can provide a new level of engagement and sense of achievement for patients that might not otherwise be able to participate in interactive activities with high-intensity upper extremity motor repetitions. Every patient should be able to achieve the repetitions and intensity required to achieve neuroplasticity, or changes in neural connections in the brain.

What Environment can I find the InMotion Robot

The InMotion robot is most commonly found in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings. It is primarily used by occupational therapists and physical therapists for patient treatment in these settings.

What movements does it work on in therapy?

The device operates in a 2D plane exercising anatomical movements such as internal and external rotation, protraction and retraction, and shoulder flexion and extension.

The InMotion ARM/HAND includes active-assisted and gravity-elimed only hand training in combination with movements from the shoulder, where the InMotion ARM device provides active-assisted therapy for the shoulder and elbow only.

The device was designed with low friction and inertia in mind providing a ‘gravity-eliminated’ feel so patients with little to no movement can still participate in therapy exercises. InMotion has both active-assisted and gravity-eliminated activities.

Does the InMotion Robot Have Cognitive Training Features?

The InMotion robot features cognitive skills in all of its activities including visual tracking and scanning, attention, initiation and execution skills. The robot features activities that range from basic 1-2 step cognitive cues to advanced multi-step motor and cognitive tasks that require alternating and sustained attention.

What are some  Non-Traditional Uses the InMotion Robot is  Best Known For?

InMotion is most well-known for its non-traditional use in the standing position. The robot can be easily adapted to be used in physical or occupational therapy treatment for upper extremity movement repetitions in the standing position to grade-up level of difficulty to achieve an appropriate challenge for high-level patients. The robot may also be used solely for cognitive rehabilitation applications.

What About Patient Data?

The InMotion robot constantly collects and stores patient data in the background of your evaluations and therapy sessions. You can pull up reports of your evaluations and therapy activities that you completed that day. From the administrative side you can also pull reports on utilization of your device.

With InMotion Connect you can now track your robot’s utilization and outcome data on the cloud across multiple devices and facilities within your network.

What Types of Data Do You Collect and analyze?

The InMotion Robot collects many different types of data such as strength, smoothness and coordination of movement, range of motion, speed and more! The robot will compare your patient’s previous data with state of the art artificial intelligence (AI)  behind the scenes, and will show you ongoing performance improvements.

Is this technology time-efficient for patient treatment?

Setup with the InMotion robot takes no more than a few minutes. It does not require a lengthy calibration process before entering a patient session or the calibration of multiple joint positions like many exoskeletons.

Where Can I Learn More About Rehabilitation Technology Options?

The world of rehabilitation technology is constantly changing.

Check out our Rehabilitation Robotics: An Unofficial Guide to learn more about these devices.

To hear more about the value of rehabilitation technology and recommendations from an administrative perspective, check out our Interview with Donna Robacker from Kindred.

Our Mission at Bionik

Our mission at Bionik is to provide quality of life solutions to those affected by movement impairments. Our goal is to enable the millions of people affected to lead fuller and more independent lives by fostering hope, recovery and independence with evidence-based technologies, spanning the continuum of rehabilitation care.

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