When South Korean technology and manufacturing giant Samsung needed to test its new Gait Enhancing and Motivation System (GEMS), it turned to a trusted partner: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Technology & Innovation Hub (tiHUB). GEMS is a lightweight, robotic hip exoskeleton that provides walking and balance assistance to people recovering from stroke and older adults.
Led by Arun Jayaraman, PT, PhD, tiHUB is a unique, one-stop-shop for industry and academic groups developing next-generation rehabilitation technologies. Here, our experts offer partners everything from product evaluation, clinical trial implementation, support in achieving regulatory clearance and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to product commercialization. Meanwhile, the advantage for Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s patients is clear: as tiHUB helps game-changing technologies get to market faster, patients gain access to those technologies years — even decades — sooner than otherwise possible.
“I call what we do ‘immediate-impact research,’” Dr. Jayaraman said. “We can’t build all the devices and we can’t design all the clinical trials — but we can leverage our organization’s expertise in rehabilitation research to test new technologies, and quickly. This approach has resulted in our collaboration with industry leaders, such as Samsung, Honda, Amazon and Apple, which recognize the competitive advantage we offer due to our unique capabilities, scale and breadth.”
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab offers partners such a wide scope of services thanks to its massive database of more than 6,000 research candidates and its infrastructure investments in scientists and research-minded clinicians. For each project, Dr. Jayaraman curates a specialized group of functional experts from across Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, including clinicians, scientists, engineers and others — forming rosters larger than the rehabilitation research divisions of most universities, hospitals and industry partners.
“It’s impossible to replicate what we offer: a complex mix of patients willing to participate in studies, extremely talented scientists and clinicians with diverse expertise, and a leadership team that empowers us to go above and beyond when exploring technology and innovation that will benefit our patients right now,” Dr. Jayaraman said. “Given our vast resources and extensive patient access, we can accomplish projects in months that would take our partners many years.”
During the Samsung GEMS study, the benefits were clear — study participants walked faster and farther, and reported improved balance, reduced fear of falling, improved mobility and greater life satisfaction.
In a culminating coup, the collaboration was featured prominently at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the most influential tech event in the world. During the opening keynote, the president and CEO of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics Division highlighted the “human-centered innovation” driving GEMS’ integration of hardware and software, noting how Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s research partnership was instrumental in making the development possible.
Thanks to such collaboration, patients will have access to life-altering technology sooner.