Country’s first robot-powered rehab centre helping injured Aussies

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Country’s first robot-powered rehab centre helping injured Aussies

News Sources.

Australia’s first robot-powered rehabilitation centre is helping people with severe injuries regain their strength and independence with the help of Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) technology.

RoboFit rehabilitation clinic founders, the husband and wife duo Maryanne Harris and Daniel Hillyer, said their journey to helping others began from their own difficult circumstances.
“I had a balcony collapse. A railing gave way on the 21st of May, 2010, resulting in a four-metre fall and I had a C45 burst fracture of the vertebrae in my neck,” Mr Hillyer told A Current Affair.
“Dan was unconscious in an induced coma for a couple of weeks, after they did surgery,” Ms Harris said.

Following a 10-month stay in hospital, the former chef went home as a quadriplegic.
Desperate to help, Ms Harris attended a medical conference in Germany.

While there, she was introduced to an exoskeleton robot called HAL. Four months later, the couple were on their way to Japan to learn more about its technology.

“Once he got used to it (HAL), between day one and day 15, he managed to lap himself three times on a 26-metre track and from there we knew it was something that was working for him,” Ms Harris said.

In late 2020, HAL was approved in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the following year, the exoskeleton arrived in Australia, which is when Dan and Maryanne founded RoboFit.

The technology gave Mr Hillyer a chance to dance at his wedding with the help of his trainer.

Now Mr Hillyer trains in HAL up to four or five times a week, with the help of his current trainer, Keiran.
“I’m using the HAL exoskeleton which is assisting me to work on my pattern,” Mr Hillyer said.
“If my left leg is doing 50 per cent, the robot’s assisting with the other 50 per cent to complete that 100 per cent range of motion.”

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