DKtherapeutics LLC is a company which seeks to empower people locked in the painful world of rehabilitation after a disabling event or disorder. We are working right now to bring tools to this space that are simple to use and affordable even for individuals and home users. The AmbulAid represents our entrance into the arena, fully democratizing gait training for both the trained medical professional and the at-home user who wishes to continue his or her treatment after discharge. It is a Class I medical device which will be for sale in late 2017 or early 2018!
Let your will meet your body’s potential. All you need is the right tools.
About DKtherapeutics and the AmbulAid
The reason it is so hard to do gait training with a disabled individual is that adult human bodies are large, heavy, and very difficult to manipulate in a precise manner without muscular control. This is why expensive robotic machinery is typically required. If none is available, excessive man-power is necessary. Either way this means that very few gait training candidates actually have the option to pursue it and even fewer neurological rehabilitation clinics can afford to offer it to those patients who need the most support and guidance.
By keeping the design simple and relying only on power from the operator, the AmbulAid is projected to cost less than 3% of modulated weight-support treadmill harnessing systems and the cheapest robotic exoskeletons. We strongly believe that an essential rehabilitative intervention like gait training should not be prohibitively expensive to accomplish. Can you imagine the mental disquiet felt by individuals who must ask themselves “could I be independent right now, could I be more mobile, healthier, happier, if only I had access to the best therapies after my injury?”
Ease of use
The AmbulAid is worn by a user and operated by a second person. It attaches at three points on each of the user’s legs: right above the knee, at the ankle, and on the foot. Putting it on requires tightening eight velcro straps and hooking two elastic bungee cords through the user’s shoelaces. It takes about 2 minutes to put on. Then, typically utilizing a walker for support and safety, the user begins walking. They should strive to perform %100 of the motions and allow the operator to pick up the slack where necessary.
Operating the AmbulAid is almost as simple as putting it on. The operator stands in front of the user, facing them. They must keep one arm stationary with light forward pressure to prevent the user’s knee from buckling on the leg in stance. To assist the advancing leg the operator (1) pulls back on the handle bringing the user’s knee forward, then (2) rotates the handle upward causing the user’s heel to swing through, and finally (3) pushes gently at a slightly downward angle to cause weight acceptance and re-lock the knee of the forward leg. See the forces illustrated below.
Daniel, the inventor, has taught non-professionals (his parents) to use the AmbulAid with him at home. He uses a walker made from wood and castor wheels to support his upper body while gait training with the AmbulAid. It took his parents about five minutes to master it.
Force directions given by operator.
Quality and efficacy
Physical therapy is a proven and ubiquitously supported intervention for people who lose function or sensation following a traumatic neurological event. Some systematic reviews of the available literature suggest that there is no considerable difference between regular physical therapy and gait training for spinal cord injured patients (in terms of regaining walking ability). Others, more inclusive in their scope, strongly suggest that body-weight supported gait training, in which the guidance forces are decreased over time, increases a person’s recovery potential significantly. In stroke patients, the benefits are definite and more pronounced.
With only three motions of the operator’s arm (above), the AmbulAid allows an operator to assist the user produce a nearly perfect gait, or walking pattern. The design allows the user to contribute as much of the effort as they can without inhibiting them in the stages “terminal swing” and “weight acceptance.” It is the operator’s responsibility to provide just enough force to keep the user’s knee locked in “terminal stance” and to pull just hard enough to advance the user’s knee in “swing.” Allowing the user to struggle and input as much of their own muscular force as they can throughout all four stages of a step is a good rehabilitative practice.
step phase 1