Groundbreaking Physiotherapy Device Licensed by BGN Technologies is Deployed by Spanish Real Sociedad Soccer Club


The system invented by two BGU Scientists and marketed by Meditouch improves injury-prevention reflex-like responses and muscles in seniors and people with impaired balance

BEER-SHEVA, Israel, September 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

BalanceTutor, a revolutionary physiotherapy product intended for a wide range of conditions, is being used to help players on Spain's Real Sociedad soccer team improve their balance and dexterity in unexpected situations.

BalanceTutor is a rehabilitation system that uses a patented 4D treadmill, power and movement sensors, and optional motivational video games. The Real Sociedad trainers and therapists are using balanceTutor to rehabilitate soccer players and expose them to unexpected perturbations. Every season, the club bears the economic burden of 900 cumulative days of sick leave per team due to injuries.  

A video of the BalanceTutor deployment at Real Sociedad can be found here.

"Effective neuromuscular coordination of the body following an unexpected slip or stumble is a fundamental element of sport performance and sport injury prevention," says Dr. Avraham Cohen, Clinical Director at Meditouch, "and this ability can be damaged due to sport injuries such as an ankle strain, ACL rupture or muscle damage. The system invented and designed at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) trains this important ability by simulating unexpected perturbations in a safe environment." 

The brainchild of two professors at BGU, the FDA and CE-certified robotic device was originally developed and built at BGU to measure the balancing capabilities of seniors, to train them to prevent falls and to rehabilitate them after injurious falls. The product was licensed to Meditouch in 2014.

BalanceTutor was invented and developed by Prof. Itshak Melzer, head of Recanati School for Community Health Professions at BGU and director of the Schwartz Movement Analysis & Rehabilitation Laboratory, and Prof. Amir Shapiro, director of the Robotics Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at BGU in an interdisciplinary effort.

"Traditional rehabilitation is based on self-initiated 'proactive' training," says Prof. Melzer. "Our robotic device trains the 'reactive' responses to a slip or other unexpected displace of balance. IN this way, it helps strengthen the muscles related to balance reflexes in areas such as the knee, hip and ankle joints."

When Prof. Melzer came to the Robotics Laboratory to look for a partner, he ran into Prof. Shapiro who turned out to have a personal interest in the topic: at the age of 31, Prof. Shapiro slipped in his garden and suffered a broken spine. "I have four screws and a metal plate connecting my head to my body, as befitting a professor of robotics," he jokes.

"Anyone - seniors, people with neurological conditions (such as stroke survivors, Parkinson's and MS patients), vestibular challenges and even athletes - can benefit from balance training that simulates an unexpected loss of balance," he adds.

"Initially we licensed the invention to improve the health and well-being of seniors," says Mr. Zafrir Levi, VP Business Development at BGN Technologies, the BGU technology company. "Yet once the product was commercialized new opportunities opened up including sports - as often happens when academic research reaches the market," adds Mr. Levi.  

About BGN Technologies 

BGN Technologies is the commercialization and technology company of Ben-Gurion University, responsible for the commercialization of knowledge and inventions of the University's researchers and students.

About Meditouch 

MediTouch was established in 2004 with the aim of developing and distributing innovative physical rehabilitation solutions for hospitals, community clinic and home care use.

Press contact
Ehud Zion-Waldoks,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

SOURCE BGN Technologies

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