Neurostep™ implanted assistive system for walking

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Neurostream Technologies: Andy Hoffer
website: Neurostep™ implanted assistive system for walking

The Neurostep™ is a pacemaker-like assistive device that is permanently implanted inside the thigh. It is the only medical device to date that uses implanted nerve cuffs to both sense nerve activity and stimulate paralyzed muscles in the disabled leg. The Neurostep™ circuitry detects when the foot contacts the ground and times the activation of muscles that lift the foot, in order to enable walking movements in people suffering from neurological disabilities such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy, providing a means for greater independence and a healthier lifestyle. Andy Hoffer and his SFU Neurokinesiology Lab team pioneered the design and uses of nerve cuff electrodes, developed specialized amplifiers, patented assistive-device designs and applications and, in 1997, created a spin-off company, Neurostream Technologies, which designed, developed and tested the Neurostep™ prototype device in the first patient. Neurostream was bought by Victhom Human Bionics in 2004. Andy Hoffer serves on Victhom's scientific advisory board and as a consultant on Neurostep product development and clinical validation. In February, 2009, Victhom obtained CE Mark approval for the Neurostep™ System, the first approval of its kind for a closed-loop system that uses signals sensed directly from peripheral nerves. The approval makes way for marketing of the Neurostep throughout Europe later in 2009.

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