Fondation Suisse pour les Cyberthèses

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Why the term Cyberthosis ?
The devices developed by the SFC combine an exoskeleton to guide the limbs, and muscular electro stimulation  with closed-loop feedback control. In order to name this concept the SFC created the term "cyberthosis", a contraction of "orthosis" (exoskeleton) and "cybernetic" which includes the control of the system and the electrical stimulation  with closed-loop feedback control (CLEMS).

Do you work in collaboration with the medical profession ?
Yes, we collaborate closely with leading specialists in the field, notably the members of our Medical Commission.

How many people are involved in the project ?
A total of fifteen people work full time on the different phases of the Cyberthosis project.

Are the FSC's devices protected by patent ?
Yes, the FSC's devices are protected by an international patent. The registered trademark SWORTEC ® and the brand names MotionMaker™, WalkTrainer™, WalkMaker™ et StimWave™ are the property of the Swiss Foundation for Cyberthosis.


What are the therapeutic aims of MotionMaker™ ?
The therapeutic aims of MotionMaker™ are multiples. MotionMaker™ is primarily an apparatus for body-building permitting an active workout for the muscles thanks to hybrid orthoses (composed of sensors and motors) and electro stimulation with closed-loop feedback control.
Moreover, MotionMaker™, through its conception, enables the mimicking of a very large number of movements by providing a return of proprioceptive information to the patient's central nervous system (CNS). It thus permits the stimulation of the central nervous system’s neuroplasticity, and therefore the re-learning of the motor patterns for these movements, so making a great contribution to the re-education of patients.
Lastly, during clinical tests, we have measured a very great diminution in muscular hypertonia and spasticity throughout the exercise sessions. We believe that regular and sustained exercise on MotionMaker™ should enable a diminution of spasticity.

What sort of movements can be made with MotionMaker™ ?
There are three main groups of exercises that can be made with MotionMaker™:

- Movements with the stimulation controlled by closed-loop (CLEMS), i.e. where the amplitude of the stimulating current develops in real-time throughout the exercise, so as to help patients reach the objectives fixed for them.

- It is also possible to fix an objective for the patient without using electro-stimulation. The patient can no longer count on the aid from electro-stimulation, but as the orthoses are equipped with motors, they can if necessary no longer act as a brake on movement, but assist the patient to carry out movements.

- Finally, it is also possible to do exercises of purely passive mobilisation, where the orthoses will guide the patient's limbs.

Because of its conception, MotionMaker™ enables movements of the leg-press type, cycling, and the simulation of walking in a horizontal position, all three being closed muscular chain exercises, as well as mono-articular movements for the hip, knee and ankle joints (open muscular chain).

Have you already tested MotionMaker™ with paraplegic patients ?
Yes, a clinical investigation was carried out in collaboration with the EPFL and the CHUV towards the end of 2005. This clinical study lasted two months, and the paraplegic patients involved came between two and three times a week. The results obtained were very encouraging and will shortly be featured in scientific publications.
The FSC would like to warmly thank the paraplegic patients who volunteered for this study, for their confidence and cooperation.

What were the impressions of the paraplegic volunteers who tested MotionMaker™ ?
Their impressions were very positive, as much from the point of view of safety and comfort, as from the benefits resulting from the exercises done on MotionMaker™. Their accounts will soon be available.

What were the impressions of the therapists who participated in the clinical study of MotionMaker™ ?
During the development of MotionMaker™ care was constantly taken over the functionality and ease of use of MotionMaker™ within the framework of a clinic. The very positive impressions of the therapists reassured us in our task, and their valuable advice will allow us to make further improvements  to MotionMaker™.

Are other clinical tests planned for MotionMaker™ ?
Yes, other clinical tests are planned for MotionMaker™, and details of these studies will be published as soon as possible.

Are clinical tests planned with hemiplegic patients ?
MotionMaker™ is particularly designed for paraplegic and hemiplegic patients. To this end a clinical study with hemiplegic patients is planned in 2006. Details of this study will be published as soon as possible.


What are the therapeutic objectives of WalkTrainer™ ?
WalkTrainer™ is a device which assists upright walking. It is composed of two orthoses for the legs, of a walking frame with active return of the patient's weight, and a motorised pelvic orthosis. The aim is to retrain the patient by closely mimicking a valid independent walk, and thus train the walking motor patterns, and stimulate neuroplasticity.