Bionik Laboratories Corp., a pioneering medical device and robotics company with a focus in developing technologies and solutions for individuals with neurological disorders ("Bionik" or the "Company"), announced today that it has completed the design of its second generation robotic lower-body exoskeleton ARKE GEN2 and initiated production of the first rehabilitation units.
Peter Bloch, CEO of Bionik, stated, "I am very pleased with the significant advancements we have made with ARKE GEN2 and believe it is a clear example of our team's expertise and strong commitment to advancing our product development strategy."
The ARKE GEN2 is a completely new industrial designed exoskeleton with novel walking gait trajectories and has significantly smaller mechanics and actuator components than the Company's previous versions. It has the highest possible energy and efficiency through both improved battery density and the power-to-weight ratio of the actuators. ARKE GEN2 utilizes Bionik's proprietary transmission and actuation system, one of the most powerful robotic devices as compared to similar systems. The second generation system has a significantly improved and more cost effective electronics system with modular form key components that can be easily maintained and allow for future software expansions and other technology applications.
"ARKE GEN2 allows users to walk more easily and efficiently compared to our previous versions and has the potential to improve rehabilitation stimulation," commented Michal Prywata, the Company's Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer.
Mr. Prywata continued, "A great deal of effort has gone into studying the geometry of different patients' lower limbs. We have been able to develop what we believe is the most intelligent way of bracing and strapping a patient into our exoskeleton. As a result, our second generation exoskeleton has been redesigned for a smaller overall footprint with a lighter mechanical profile. We utilized exotic materials such as carbon fiber to significantly reduce the volume of material required to translate the mechanical structural strength and power of the original ARKE™ into a more sleek, manageable and streamlined profile."
The ARKE GEN2 is the first exoskeleton with tablet control integration, and Bionik's management believes that it provides the easiest possible method of control and adjustment to meet each individual's needs. The second generation system interfaces on a larger wireless touch-controlled tablet which is easier to manipulate, increases data comprehension and relays more meaningful information so physical therapists are able adjust the device more effectively. The energy density of the lithium polymer based battery system has also been improved to extend battery life and make battery replacement easier during a rehabilitation session. New safety features were also added including a hard wired emergency stop that can be triggered at any time which is unique as compared to the current competitive devices.
"We specifically focused our redesign to address ease of use and safety. We believe ARKE GEN2 is now one of the most adaptable lower body robotic devices through features such as quick parameter adjustments on the tablet display," added Thiago Caires, the Company's Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer.
"As we progressed the engineering of the original ARKE and advanced through clinical testing, we realized the importance of giving the physical therapists the easiest possible method of control and adjustment as well as being able to relay data directly to them in order to enable the adjustment of therapies in an efficient manner. Additionally, the system's control algorithms have also been improved to enhance adaptability and the battery system is easy to replace during rehabilitation sessions," added Mr. Caires.
Bionik anticipates providing the first production units of ARKE GEN2 to key partner rehabilitation hospitals and commence user testing during the fourth quarter of 2015.