Find a prevalent problem and solve it – any MBA worth their tuition will enthusiastically volunteer this as the surest way to start a successful company.
What started in Woodie Flowers’ lab at MIT as research into prosthetics, became a solution for stroke victims struggling with hemiparesis.
Named the mPower 1000, the Myomo (My Own Motion) neuro-robotic arm brace uses EMG technology to sense electrical pulses from the patient’s own muscles and then helps to complete the desired movement. This assists recovery (re-teaching arm movement to the brain) and allows for greater self-reliance.
With a determined focus on usability, therapists can now easily customize the level of assistance, greatly reducing stagnation and plateaus in patient recovery.
Myomo has found a problem and solved it well; so well in fact, that it was recently named the recipient of the 2011 Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Product of the Year Award. In a marketplace full of Ivy-educated tech innovators with creative solutions to impossibly complex problems, getting this level of recognition is no easy feat.
And there’s no shortage of people who could benefit from this new tech, either as a rehab tool or as an everyday assistance device.
“There are four million individuals in the United States who have been told that after their stroke, whatever deficits they have after the first six months of rehab are permanent,” says Myomo CEO Paul Gudonis. “We are proving that the conventional wisdom is wrong in many cases.”
Take notice though, the folks at Myomo aren’t hanging their hats on one award. Instead, they are using any momentum gained, and have created the PERL (push, eat, reach, lift) Technique to promote and teach specialists how best to focus and amplify the abilities of the neuro-robotic assistance.
Combined, the mPower1000 and the PERL Technique are re-setting the boundaries not only for total progress within rehabilitation efforts, but also the timelines of those efforts.
“I had a stroke nine years ago…” says Jane Arena, a patient using the Myomo mPower 1000. “I’m finally doing stuff for myself that I was never able to do before.”
What does the future hold for Myomo? If you take into account the hand, leg, and ankle devices being developed on the same EMG-powered platform, the app available for therapists to track metrics on patient progress, innovative video games designed to motivate rehab exercises, and the fact that strokes have become the leading cause of disability in America, the possibilities for do-gooding are endless.
Myomo’s mPower 1000 was designed using Creo. For more information visit the Creo Resource Center.