SOURCE: Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific

Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific

August 26, 2011 11:00 ET

Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific Partners on New Technology for Wheelchair Users

HONOLULU, HI--(Marketwire - Aug 26, 2011) - Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific (REHAB) has been selected as one of 10 leading rehabilitation hospitals to partner with Berkeley Bionics to conduct investigational trials on eLEGS Pro, a wearable, battery powered exoskeleton that enables wheelchair users to stand and walk. Eight local residents will participate in the trials, which began last week. Early next year REHAB will become one of the first eLEGS Centers in the world, offering the program for the rehabilitation of spinal cord injury patients in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim.

"Bringing this groundbreaking technology to Hawaii is an example of REHAB's commitment and vision for the future. It is our mission to provide the highest standards of patient care including emerging technologies that will fundamentally change how we approach physical rehabilitation," noted John Komeji, chairman of REHAB's Board of Directors. We are honored to join the nation's best rehabilitation centers to help bring the eLEGS Program to market," he added.

Voted as CNN's "Top 10 Innovations of 2010" and Time's "50 Best Innovations of 2010," eLEGS Pro is a wearable battery-powered exoskeleton that is worn over a user's clothing. The goal is for the user to activate his /her steps by triggering movement sensors on his / her arm and sensors in the smart crutches that communicate with the device's computer. The eLEGS design provides unprecedented knee flexion, which translates into the most natural human gait available among exoskeletons. The speed of walking is easily adapted to fit each person's ability and comfort level. The device easily adjusts to fit most people weighing 220 pounds or less, and between 5'2" and 6'2", with at least partial upper body strength.

Berkeley Bionics will begin shipping eLEGS Pro to the 10 rehabilitation centers early 2012 and it expects to have a personal version of eLEGS, one that users can take home to use, available by 2013.

According to Berkeley Bionics' CEO Eythor Bender, "Many of the six million Americans who live with some form of paralysis today were highly active and at the top of their game when they sustained their injury. As they research their options for increased mobility, they discover that wheelchairs are pretty much it. With eLEGS, they can stand up and walk for the first time since their injury. We are on the verge of a new era of mobility for people with paralysis, using bionic exoskeletons -- first in rehabilitation centers -- and later making them available for home and personal use. We have been fortunate to team up with some of the most respected rehabilitation centers in the world, embarking on this important journey in a way that not only efficiently accelerates innovation and research but also ensures the safety of the users."

The participating rehab centers are:

Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific (REHAB) is the only acute care medical rehabilitation organization serving Hawaii. For more than 56 years, the 100-bed, not-for-profit hospital and outpatient clinics on Oahu and the Big Island have been dedicated to providing comprehensive medical rehabilitation services.

Each year, REHAB treats more than 5,500 patients recovering from strokes, brain injury, spinal cord injury, orthopedic injuries, sports injuries and those individuals requiring general rehabilitation. REHAB launched the Innovation Center (IC) in 2011 to begin incorporation of breakthrough technologies and methodologies. The IC seeks, evaluates and implements revolutionary technology with its clinical rehabilitation programs to provide the most powerful program for each patients. In addition to eLEGS Pro, the IC has introduced the Tibion Bionic Leg and AlterG Anti-gravity Treadmill, both fundamentally challenging the limits of what is possible in rehabilitation medicine.

Berkeley Bionics (www.berkeleybionics.com) - based in Berkeley, CA and founded in 2005, develops and manufactures powered and artificially intelligent human exoskeletons for military, civilian and medical uses that augment strength, endurance, mobility and injury prevention.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    For Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific
    Pineapple Tweed PR
    Piia Aarma
    Email Contact
    (808) 737-1904 (o)
    (808) 221-2102 (m)
    Valerie Moore
    Email Contact
    (808) 754-3049

    For Berkeley Bionics
    Beverly Millson
    Missing Sock Public Relations
    Austin, Texas
    Tel: 512-795-7798
    Cell: 310-804-3469
    Email Contact