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[Up-and-coming medical startups of 2020] CES 2020 award-winning startup Exosystems unveils ‘exoRehab’
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.03.20 18:09
  • Updated 2020.03.21 11:33
  • comments 0

The global healthcare sector is being immersed more and more by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Korea has also emerged as a "technology powerhouse" as the nation is seeing new innovative startups that are working on visualizing the once futuristic technology to real life. Korea Biomedical Review, on the occasion of its third anniversary, met with up-and-coming CEOs from various healthcare startups to hear about their company and what they believe is going on in Korea's dynamic healthcare startup scene. The fifth guest is Lee Hoo-man, CEO of Exosystems– Ed.

Exosystems is a startup specializing in developing healthcare wearables and digital therapeutics, providing a new platform for a healthy life in this era of population aging.

The company participated in Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 with its wearable “exoRehab,” which provides rehabilitation training for people who have difficulty in walking due to muscular dystrophy from aging and the aftereffects of a stroke. Exosystems received two CES Innovation Awards.

ExoRehab, registered as a second-class medical device, which measures and analyzes biosignals and sends the user an exercise program. Also, the device gives electrical stimulation to help rehabilitation.

The difference between exoRehab and existing similar products is that exoRehab measures and analyzes the surface electromyography to fit the individual's condition and send exercise programs according to their musculoskeletal data.

When the user moves, the avatar presented on the screen induces the user to make some movements. Also, the solution can be played as a game. These aspects were not available in previous products.

Exosystems CEO Lee Hoo-man explains “exoRehab” during a recent interview with Korea Biomedical Review.

"Our exoRehab is not yet commercialized to the public, but we have distributed it to some people. We distributed our products to 20 people for the beta test, but a far larger number of people wanted to participate in the tests," Exosystems CEO Lee Hoo-man told Korea Biomedical Review recently.

The participants were divided into two groups. One is composed of patients who suffered from the aftereffects of stroke or Parkinson’s disease in their cerebral nervous system. The other group was made of orthopedic patients who had an operation on their knees or cruciate ligament tears.

"The major difference between exoRehab for business to business (B2B) and that for business to consumer (B2C) is in the software. We think B2B exoRehab is for users who belong to institutions. Our product's application can link and display the user's information on screens," he said.

Lee said his company won the approval of equivalence trial for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in 2018, and Exosystems are taking clinical trials to switch the permit to Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).

FES and TENS have different standards, and FES focuses more on the electrical stimulation to cause muscle contraction by stimulating motor nerves to induce joints to function.

The first clinical trial was conducted at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. CEO Lee described the test as a joint development to reflect physicians’ opinions in the early development period. The trial subjects were patients who had surgeries on knee.

The second clinical trial is going on in 40 patients, in partnership with Pusan National University Hospital. Exosystems has secured the data of 10 patients, but the trial needs 40.

The clinical trial used Time Up and Go (TUG) test to measure the patients' clinical data. CEO Lee said that elderly patients' muscle flexion has improved by using exoRehab. He expected that the company would obtain more data for modification.

"In terms of function, the FES device has a wide range of parameters that can be adjusted in any FES treatment. The difference in parameters is due to the intensity of stimulation from the device," Lee said. "We do not currently have FES guidance to control exoRehab for users, but we are planning to provide the solution with guide by adding our developmental data."

Unlike simple electrical muscle stimulation products and massagers, the company is trying to help those who cannot work out actively have a similar effect through electrical stimulation, Lee added.


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