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July 24, 2019      

Ekso Bionics Holdings today announced it expanded its medical exoskeleton portfolio with a new upper extremity rehabilitation device, the EksoUE. The wearable upper body exoskeleton assists patients with a broad range of upper extremity impairments, providing them with “a wider range of motion and increased endurance for rehabilitation sessions of higher dose and intensity.”

The EKSoUE is put on similar to a jacket, and is secured at the waist, arms, and wrists, Ekso said. Lift assistance is provided by passive mechanisms located on the arms, and does not require any battery power. The company said EksoUE is registered with the FDA as a Class I medical device.

Collaboration with Johns Hopkins

The EksoUE was developed through a collaboration between Ekso Bionics and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and was beta-tested by the KATA Design Studio. The development team explored the potential for an upper body exoskeleton with different functions and tasks during rehabilitation in a traditional clinical setting, as well as combined with new interactive technologies, Ekso said in a statement.

The project was led by Drs. Omar Ahmad; Director of KATA, and John W. Krakauer; John C. Malone Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, both in the Department of Neurology. The pilot studies also explored EksoUE being integrated with a unique therapeutic neuro-animated game that is in testing for early stroke recovery. Combined, the immersive therapy aims to engage patients in more diverse and complex motor movements by increasing active range of motion and reducing patient fatigue.

During the device’s development stage, Burke Neurological Institute provided patient and clinician feedback, and EksoUE was tested primarily with stroke patients. However, the company said it has applications for various upper extremity impairments.

Tomoko Kitago

Tomoko Kitago, M.D.

“We worked with a full range of stroke patients to trial the benefits of EksoUE— from those who had limited range of motion to those with mild impairment but limited endurance,” said Tomoko Kitago, M.D., lab director of the Human Motor Recovery Laboratory at Burke Neurological Institute. “With the device, our patients experienced a better range of motion and increased ability to complete tasks during therapy sessions, allowing them to actively participate in longer and more productive sessions.”

Ekso Bionics, an RBR50 2019 honoree, said EksoUE would be first made available to select existing customers through a limited release, with commercialization in the U.S. and Europe by the end of this year.

Ekso Bionics Jack Peurach

Jack Peurach, Ekso Bionics

“As a pioneer in exoskeleton technology with extensive intellectual property, we are dedicated to applying our knowledge to develop new solutions that help our customers. Our latest innovation is an upper body exoskeleton for medical rehabilitation,” said Jack Peurach, CEO and President of Ekso Bionics. “We believe this is the first wearable device of its kind to provide upper extremity support for rehabilitation use and are proud to expand our medical portfolio with this advancement.”