VIDEO: Paralympian Anna Turney from Northampton launches UK’s first robot-assisted physiotherapy using REX technology

A Northampton paralympian skier has demonstrated pioneering new robotic technology which allows her to walk.

Anna Turney, who broke her back in 2006, was the guest of honour at the launch of REX Bionics at the Chris Moody Sports Therapy and Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Moulton yesterday (Tuesday) where she demonstrated the latest technology.

British Paralympian Anna Turney unveil's the UK's first physiotherapy service using REX Bionics technology NNL-140912-170141001

British Paralympian Anna Turney unveil's the UK's first physiotherapy service using REX Bionics technology NNL-140912-170141001

Rex Bionics plc, the pioneer of the REX Robot technology that enhances the mobility of wheelchair users, and PhysioFunction, one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist hands-on Neurological Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Technology services, launched the UK’s first physiotherapy service using the REX technology for people with mobility impairment.

PhysioFunction will provide regular out-patient clinics at the state-of-the-art Chris Moody Centre at Moulton College on a private payer basis; and progressively at PhysioFunction’s 14 other neurological physiotherapy facilities in the Midlands, London and Yorkshire.

During Robot-Assisted Physiotherapy (RAP), REX lifts patients from a sitting position into a robot-supported standing position, allowing them to take part in a set of supported walking and stretching exercises designed by specialist physiotherapists.  

Wheelchair users are at risk of developing numerous medical complications from extended periods of sitting. By enabling them to spend more time standing, walking and exercising, REX may offer significant health benefits, including improved cardiovascular performance, maintenance of joint range, and a reduction in infections. 

PhysioFunction will also act as a reference centre for the REX technology, collecting the clinical data which will help to demonstrate the benefits of the technology and will act as a test centre for wheelchair users from the UK and overseas who are considering purchasing or leasing a REX.

Crispin Simon, Chief Executive of Rex Bionics, said: “We are delighted to marry our REX technology with PhysioFunction’s treatment expertise. REX has caught the public imagination and we hope that this will enable the widest possible range of people to have access to its quality of life benefits.”

Jon Graham, Chief Executive of PhysioFunction, said: “Exoskeletons offer significant benefits for the management of secondary complications for wheelchair users compared with conventional rehabilitation methods. REX offers additional benefits to the user, because unlike other exoskeletons which require the use of crutches or a walking frame for stability, it allows users to retain the use of their hands.”

Anna, who is the first patient to be treated with RAP and grew up in Northampton, said: “It was great to try the REX with Jon Graham at PhysioFunction. If felt very strange to be upright, but I know I’m in safe hands with PhysioFunction.”

See the video above for more.