TEK Robotic Mobilization Device

TEK Robotic Mobilization DeviceHere’s a wheelchair alternative that may eventually save on the cost of some of the more expensive home modifications such as widening doorways. It’s a new concept that will surely improve but already holds much promise.

According to its website, Tek RMD, provides the opportunity of movement for people with paraplegia by enabling them to independently stand up in a completely upright position with correct posture, facilitating their movement and comfortable completion of their daily tasks indoors, such as in the home, office and shopping mall. Tek RMD is not an alternative to wheelchairs, it is a totally new concept, a new platform.

What Else?

Other options for stand-up mobility include the use of exoskeleton technologies like that created by Ekso Bionics (below). But both solutions shown still have problems to overcome.

Funding Issues

Medicare does not yet pay for any type standing device, manual or power, and they don’t cover the cost of stair lifts, home elevators, environmental controls, or home modifications. Since private insurers model their policies after Medicare, they too don’t cover these expenses either. Hopefully our over burdened healthcare system will eventually fund these types of enabling devices, but until then they remain out of reach for many of those who need them the most.

Age

Both video examples show relatively young and fit paraplegics rather than much older or overweight people with less upper body strength and agility. Since that market is growing, I’m hopeful to see more work in that space and hope to report soon on some related robotics work being done in Japan.

Terrain

Mobility solutions that work well in the home or other controlled setting may face new obstacles in real world settings, including uneven curb cuts, the angle of stair ramps, rough surfaces, etc.  Bigger wheels can help – something similar to Segway.

What other unaddressed issues do you see?  Can you point us to other interesting projects?

14 thoughts on “TEK Robotic Mobilization Device

  1. Is there any grants out there for this type of equipment?  My neice is 36 years old and has been paralyzed for 3 years from an automobile accident.  She has three children and is a single mom now on Social Security Disability and Medicare, which doesn’t cover this type of mobilization device.

    We are a blue collar family without the means for such a wonderful device.

    Any leads or ideas you might have would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    1. I’m not aware of any grants that your niece can take advantage but hope Medicare will change its coverage guidelines, since it’s often less expensive to do so. The VA already covers home modifications and assistance technologies like this, so I suggest continuing to pressure public officials to follow suit. Here are a few resources listed in our Resources section:

      AbleData
      This federally funded initiative serves the nation’s disability, rehabilitation, and senior communities by providing objective information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment.

      Americans with Disabilities Act
      Information & Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

      The Assistive Technology Blog
      Provided by the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) at VCU.

      Home Care Technology Association of America (HVTAA)
      Whether it is urging Congress to recognize home telehealth interactions as bona fide Medicare services or provide financial assistance to home care agencies to adopt health information technology (HIT) and implement electronic health records (EHR) or reimburse appropriate self-care technologies or finance a resource center for home telehealth technologies, the HCTAA is at the forefront of advocating for the advancement of technology in home health care.

      Maine CITE
      Making assistive and universally designed technology more available to Maine children and adults who need them. Your state may have a similar agency or service.

  2. *I’m concerned about the seating part of this invention. There must be some proper butt padding to avoid pressure soars. Sam

    1. I thought this device allows one to sit on normal cushions like chairs and stool. I stand corrected

  3. My 12 year old grand son, Braedon Pollmann has the AT disease.  His motor skills are now diminished to the point he is confined to a wheel chair. We are having a fund raiser for the AT project for the purpose of finding treatments and hopefully a cure for this children’s condition.  Log on to : atcp.org/StrikeOutATNY Thank You.

  4. *My granddaughter, 15, has been in wheelchair all her life.  Are these TEKRMDs available in the USA and what is price?

    1. *I was just looking through the information provided on the companies website. The device costs around $15,000 and are available on a reservation basis. My husband has been a paraplegic since he was 6 years old (he is now 33) and something like this device would be wonderful for him. I hope that insurance companies start making modifications so that assistive technology like this will be at least partially covered.

      1. Thanks, Lindsae, for responding so quickly — faster than I could get to it. It’s folks like you who make online communities work. 🙂

  5. I’m a functional tetraplegic.  Thankfully, I don’t need a wheelchair, but I spent some time in one during recovery.  I can appreciate the value of this technology more than most and would like to see it take off.   

    Not getting insurance coverage may actually help if the company can get the investment and spend the time required to get the costs down to the sub $10,000 range and get widespread adoption.  Health complications from sitting down most of the day and needing assistance to get into the chair in the morning should offset any expenditure on the chair at that level.  

    The website is taking $5000 donations for a reservation with the disclaimer that delivery may be “some time in 2013”.  What is the latest on the company?  

    1. Thanks for reading the TEK article on Modern Health Talk and responding. I’m unable to answer your question but instead refer you to Tek RMD directly. They should be interested in your feed feedback and able to answer all of your questions.

  6. My mom was in a car accident in college and has been stuck sitting down for over 30 years now. Does anyone know if they allow trials or test runs to see if the recipient even likes it? I would hate to spend so much money on a device that is not as great as it seems. 

    1. I hope someone with personal experience replies but don’t want you to wait and instead encourage you contact the manufacturer directly using the links in the article. Thanks for finding Modern Health Talk and joining in.

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