Soča Institute Develops Innovative Sit-to-Stand Trainer
Ljubljana, 14 November - The university rehabilitation institute Soča has developed in cooperation with the Rehing company a device enabling the training of the getting up motion. The ability to get up is a rehabilitation precondition for people with movement problems and this is the first device that enables a natural sit-to-stand motion and relieves therapists of the need to physically lift the patient.
The sit-to-stand trainer was developed by professor Zlatko Matjačić from the Soča institute and dr. Jakob Oblak of the Rehing company. Matjačić explained that the device is primary intended for the rehabilitation of persons who suffered a stroke or a spinal court injury.
"In clinical practice we presently do not know about any other device on the market that would enable the training of the getting up motion in a biomechanically correct way, which is why such training is in the domain of physiotherapists, who have to physically support the patient. Such lifting is slow, strenuous and mostly also incorrect. The device on the other hand enables physiologically correct training of the getting up motion and relieves the physiotherapist of the strenuous physical interaction," Matjačić explained.
The rehabilitation robot is composed of two parts. The first part moves an innovative support mechanism, which is patent protected and allows natural movement in the ankles, knees, hips and body. The second part is a single engine and the steering mechanism.
The patient sits down on the support mechanism, while the therapist presses a button on the hand control unit that starts the lifting process. The therapist can also set the speed of the lifting and the level of the mechanical support, which needs to allow the patient to get up with a combination of his or her own effort and the support of the device. It is important here that this getting up motion is correct, which allows a complex move to be learned by way of a sufficient number of repetitions.
According to Matjačić, clinical testing has shown the device to have major potential in clinical practice and the industrial partner, German company Medica Medizintechnik, with which the Soča institute has been cooperating for years and which is also to holder of the patent rights, has started developing a product. The device will be available to rehabilitation centres around the world in the coming two years.
Three partners were involved in the development of the device: the Slovenian company Rehing as the development partner, the Soča institute as the development and research and clinical partner and German company Medica Medizintechnik as the industrial partner. According to Matjačić the biggest challenge in such projects is coordinating three development aspects: clinical use, the possibility to patent the solution and the possibility of transferring the development and research results into a productive solution that can succeed on the demanding market of rehabilitation equipment.