Anatomical Concepts (UK)
Masters of Rehabilitation Engineering

Derek Jones: Anatomical Concepts (UK) Blog

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The Tek RMD - a mobility device that gets you standing

As an engineering student years ago we used to explore new product ideas by combining two existing product concepts into something brand new. Sometimes the result was exciting and sometimes ridiculous (eg. the potato peeling toothbrush).

The Tek RMD combines two functions we can see in many other rehabilitation products and does this combination in a rather unique way. The Tek RMD combines the ability to easily stand and to move upright despite paraplegia.

The Tek RMD allows good standing posture to be achieved safely

Now standing has been recommended as a daily ritual for paraplegics for decades and there are standing frames and standing wheelchairs that to some degree offer this facility. Every approach has it’s limitations of course.

Standing frames can be simple or complex but fundamentally they require the user to stay in one place whilst they stand. Standing wheelchairs would seem to combine both movement and standing but they generally emphasise mobility as their key feature - this means they tend to be large and cumbersome for use in indoor spaces. Also for stability, they need to ensure that the centre of mass is within the wheelbase. This results in a standing posture that is tilted back or a chair that is very heavy.

The Tek RMD is not a perfect solution for everyone; no product can be. However, it offers a paraplegic or a person with compromised mobility, the ability to stand in a great upright posture and move indoors with relative freedom whilst upright.

Providing the user is free of contraindications, the standing posture that can be achieved is excellent therapeutically. It should help with spasticity management, bone density maintenance and the health benefits we expect from frequent standing. We know that standing in a good posture is also helpful to bowel and bladder function and respiration.

The ideal user just now has a lower-level spinal cord injury. They will have good use of their hands and arms which are needed to operate the controls for the Tek RMD. At the beginning, we saw many persons who wanted to use the product but were unable due to lack of arm and grip strength. This currently rules out use by many persons after a stroke or with conditions like MS.

The Tek RMD is set up to suit the stature of the user and is narrower and shorter than a wheelchair

The typical client with a lower-level spinal cord injury recognises the need for them to stand on a daily basis but would admit that this has been hard to achieve. Who wants to take time out of their day to fit in some static standing ?- it might be good for you but it’s not really functional.

Using the Tek RMD allows the user much more freedom to combine standing and movement indoors without compromising function to a great extent.

We have now developed an assessment process that provides client information and at the same time tries to guage the likelihood that someone can use the product. We do this via web technology. Also we try to configure the product to the stature of each individual prior to any face to face demo. This is sometimes not easy to do as the product is essentially custom configured for each user and this takes time.

We are sometimes asked “You work with both the Indego Exoskeleton and the Tek RMD - which is better?”

This is really like trying to compare oranges and apples. It very much depends on the functional ability and aspirations of the client. Whilst both can potentially allow someone to stand and move they have very different features and benefits. Both are outstanding products but true value can only be judged in relation to individual goals.

Learn more at our main page for the Tek RMD and you will find an enquiry form there.