skip to main content

NIH-funded rehabilitation technologies receive FDA clearance

Two new technologies that assist in rehabilitation from disabilities, injuries or stroke now have Class II medical device clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.

The first, an upper arm prosthetic interface, uses pattern-recognition technology to strengthen and improve the analysis of electric signals in remaining muscles. The technology gives an amputee greater control and movement of the prosthetic limb. The device was developed by Coapt, LLC, of Chicago, with funding from NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The second, a Virtual Occupational Therapy Assistant software system, helps stroke survivors and others with neurological impairments with daily living tasks. The virtual assistant re-acquaints patients with activities that once may have been routine, such as cooking, cleaning or shopping. The software, called SaeboVR, uses sensor technology to track upper arm movements, which then are simulated and repeated on the screen by an avatar. NICHD-funded researchers at Barron Associates in Charlottesville, VA, found that practicing daily living activities with a virtual assistant significantly improves upper limb motor and cognitive function.

Both the Coapt device and the SaeboVR virtual assistant were supported through NICHD’s small business programs.

Posted: May 15, 2017