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Smart Textiles

Holistic design from Cionic and fuseproject

Comprehensive system addresses the key muscle groups of the leg.

21st July 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  San Francisco

Medical/Hygiene

The Neural Sleeve is an FDA-cleared bionic leg wearable that uses AI to understand and influence human mobility in real-time, enabling greater access and independence for individuals living with mobility differences such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, and more.

It has been developed in a collaboration between San Francisco-based Cionic and designer Yves Behar of the multidisciplinary design firm, fuseproject.

“Building bionic clothing that can augment human movement takes a thoughtful and holistic approach,” says Cionic founder and CEO Jeremiah Robison. “It starts with advanced technology capable of adapting to each user’s mobility needs to deliver meaningful outcomes. We then designed it to be comfortable to wear and effortless to use.

This has the potential to improve mobility and function with continued use and is unlike anything I’ve ever seen

“From software to soft goods, our team of experts has pushed the boundaries of human-machine interface to deliver the future of assistive technology.”

Motivated by Robison’s daughter’s journey with cerebral palsy, Cionic is on a mission to improve mobility for the hundreds of millions living with impaired mobility.

“Ultimately we are creating not just a single solution, but a platform for bionic clothing that can analyze, predict and augment human movement for all,” says Robison. “The design prioritises user experience.”

“It was imperative to us that the product not only has a significant improvement for users physically but also to remove some of the emotional burdens that come with having a mobility difference,” adds Behar. “This meant building a product in tandem with potential users so we understood their needs and could create the best possible solution. Good design serves to humanise technology and provide life-changing solutions.”

The Cionic Neural Sleeve is designed for everyday wear, and importantly, easy to put on and take off – a critical design element for those with inhibited mobility. The lightweight, breathable fabric feels like an athletic legging, and is available in multiple colours and sizes. Paired with the intuitive Cionic app, it enables the user to be fully in control.

Dr Jacqueline Nicholas, system chief of neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis at the OhioHealth MS Center, has been an advocate for the Neural Sleeve, seeing two of her MS patients walk better than they had in ten years after programming the device to their needs.

“This is the first comprehensive system that addresses key muscle groups of the leg, which means it has the potential to improve mobility and function with continued use,” she says. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Trials

Cionic trial participants across multiple locations demonstrated strong improvement on the two key measures associated with foot drop – dorsiflexion at heel strike (94% of users), and ankle inversion during swing (88% of users). Notably, when combining the two measures, there was an average improvement of 9 degrees for participants – 5 degrees is clinically significant.

Cionic has also been conducting home usability trials to understand the impact of the Neural Sleeve on mobility over time. Not only has reported mobility improved for many of these users, but the number of users experiencing moderate to severe pain was reduced by 60%, and the number of users experiencing moderate to severe anxiety or depression was reduced by 75%.

“When I started the home usability trial I was only able to walk for about five to ten minutes at a time, and I used a wheelchair for mobility outside of the home,” Beverly Chaidez, who lives with MS and was a participant in the home usability trials. “Today, I can walk for 40 to 50 minutes at a time and I haven’t used my wheelchair in over a month. I feel hopeful and optimistic that I can regain a lot of things that I lost.”

Cionic is now accepting pre-orders for early 2023 delivery.

www.cionic.com

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