BFH researchers develop innovative rehabilitation device

20.09.2023 To improve the whole-body rehabilitation of patients who are confined to bed, researchers at BFH are developing a new type of rehabilitation device together with the start-up Liberty MedTech and Reha Rheinfelden. The prototype is now ready for clinical trials.

In order for patients to be able to return to everyday life as quickly as possible after a stroke, an operation or an illness, rehabilitation is of great importance and already begins when the person is still confined to bed. To improve the results at this early stage of rehabilitation, to relieve the therapists and to enable people with severe impairments to train, researchers from the Laboratory for Rehabilitation Engineering at Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, in collaboration with the start-up Liberty MedTech and Reha Rheinfelden, developed a functional prototype of a new type of whole-body rehabilitation device called the Liberty Rehabilitation Platform. The project was funded by Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency.

Natural movements thanks to cable connections

The Liberty Rehabilitation Platform consists of a metal frame in which a total of 17 motors are integrated. The motors are connected to the patient via flexible cables. This allows arm and leg movements in different directions during training. The use of cable-based connections is one of the central innovations of the rehabilitation platform, as it allows more natural movements to be produced than is possible with conventional robots with rigid metal structures. The device also makes it possible to safely transfer patients between a wheelchair and a therapy bed, as well as to change their posture from sitting to lying on the back or side.    

Follow-up project in planning

In a next step, the Liberty Rehabilitation Platform will be clinically tested. A follow-up project is already being planned. Afterwards, the project team wants to have its development certified as a medical device. This will ensure that the product is safe and effective for use in medical facilities.

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