In collaboration with Liberating Technologies, Inc., a College Park Company, RxFunction will develop a system leveraging Walkasins® neuroprosthetic technology to perform advanced balance and gait training for those utilizing artificial limbs
Eden Prairie, Minnesota – (August 28, 2020) – RxFunction, Inc. has been selected by the Defense Health Agency to receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct Phase II contract to fund development that will incorporate Walkasins®sensory neuroprosthetic technology into artificial limbs for enhanced rehabilitation of gait and balance for active-duty military members, veterans, and civilians with lower limb trauma and/or loss.
The project, entitled “Optimize Performance and Mitigate Falls in Warfighters with Lower Limb Trauma and/or Loss”, will be conducted in collaboration with Liberating Technologies, Inc. (LTI), the research arm of College Park Industries, now part of Össur Group, a global leader in non-invasive orthopaedics. The grant is anticipated to be in excess of one million dollars.
“I am thrilled that we were able to get this competitive Department of Defense contract in collaboration with the excellent research team at LTI,” says Dr. Lars Oddsson, Principal Investigator, CTO of RxFunction, and co-inventor of the Walkasins technology. “It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to combine our technology, experience and expertise with theirs to develop a new rehabilitation tool that can help improve gait and balance function for those with lower limb loss.”
Dr. Todd Farrell, Director of Research at LTI adds, “We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to continue our collaboration with the team at RxFunction. This project aligns with our company’s strategic goals of developing novel technologies to improve the quality of life of individuals with limb difference. I believe that the synergistic nature of the technologies that each company is bringing to the project will allow for the development and deployment of an effective rehabilitation tool for the Warfighter, Veteran, and civilian populations.”
Loss of balance and associated falls are a significant problem for active-duty military members, veterans, and civilians with lower limb trauma and limb loss. Therapists currently lack readily available tools to use in the clinic for advanced balance and gait training to decrease fall risk and increase performance.
Future commercial applications would extend the technology into a prosthesis to provide remote patient monitoring capabilities with therapy on an ongoing basis.
RxFunction CEO, Tom Morizio adds, “It’s exciting to see this next development coming out of our strong and extensive IP portfolio. This project can help open a market to serve a new population of patients in need, and is in line with our longer-term plans to expand this technology into other applications and new neuromuscular disease indications, building on our work in peripheral neuropathy.”
Walkasins® is an external lower limb sensory prosthesis intended to replace the nerve function used for detection and signaling of foot pressure sensation. The company developed Walkasins to help improve balance in patients who experience gait and mobility problems due to sensory peripheral neuropathy, a disorder where the nerves in the feet are damaged causing numbness. Walkasins is available by prescription following evaluation by a trained clinician. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of peripheral neuropathy, commonly a consequence of diabetes and chemotherapy, and widely present in the elderly population. To learn more about Walkasins, including about risks associated with using Walkasins, visit www.rxfunction.com
RxFunction™ is a medical device company with a mission to design and market medical technologies that restore balance, increase mobility, and enhance confidence for patients at risk of falling. Privately held and headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, RxFunction created the Walkasins® lower limb sensory prosthesis, building upon patented technology developed by co-founder and scientist Lars Oddsson, PhD. Development of Walkasins was supported by Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Institutes of Health (AG040865) and the product is manufactured in Minnesota.
Liberating Technologies, Inc. (LTI) is College Park Industries’ (CPI, now part of Össur Group) research hub in Holliston, MA. Since 2008, LTI’s dedicated research team has earned government-funded grants to pursue the development of cutting-edge technologies in the field of rehabilitation engineering with a focus on orthotics and prosthetics. LTI has received awards from the U.S. Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Department of Education, Veteran’s Administration and National Institutes on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. To date LTI has been fortunate enough to have been selected for award as a prime- or sub-contractor on 39 proposals totaling over $18.8M. More details can be found at www.liberatingtech.com.