Wandercraft, the developer of the world's first self-stabilizing walking exoskeleton designed to enable people with walking disabilities to stand and walk again, today announced the official launch of commercial operations in the United States with the start of Atalante X research at the Kessler Foundation, a global leader in rehabilitation research.
Wandercraft's U.S. headquarters, based in New York and led by CEO Matthieu Masselin, was opened as the company looks to expand operations in the U.S. following FDA approval of the Atalante exoskeleton for use in stroke rehabilitation in December 2022.
A large number of people with disabilities in the U.S. could benefit from the use of the Atalante X exoskeleton. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year, and it is a leading cause of severe long-term disability. In addition, approximately 302,000 people living in the United States have suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury, according to the U.S. National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. Finally, about one million people in the United States are living with multiple sclerosis, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Wandercraft's Atalante X received a CE mark* in 2019 and has been used in nearly 650.5 sessions to treat over 500 patients with various conditions in several European rehabilitation clinics. The unique self-balancing feature allows patients to move hands-free in multiple directions without assistive devices and features a dynamic balance mode not otherwise available in the exoskeleton market. Active Balance mode allows the exoskeleton to follow the patient's movement thanks to a motion sensor on the back, allowing more freedom in the rehabilitation program, including gamification of sessions to engage patients and work on trunk strength and balance as well as gait.
"Expanding our presence in the world's largest healthcare market and announcing this partnership with the Kessler Foundation are two important milestones towards our goal of revolutionizing standards of care and paving a path to recovery for patients with severe mobility issues," said Matthieu Masselin, CEO of Wandercraft. "Wandercraft has strong clinical and technical expertise, and we are always looking to partner with prestigious institutions using cutting-edge technologies to improve clinical solutions for patients and clinicians."
The first Atalante exoskeleton for research purposes has been delivered to the Kessler Foundation and staff training has been completed. Kessler's research team, led by Gail Forrest, PhD, Karen J. Nolan, PhD, and Ghaith Androwis PhD, is studying the impact of this innovative robotic technology on biomechanics and functional mobility.
"With more than two decades of experience researching wearable exoskeletons, our team has the depth and breadth of expertise needed to investigate innovations like Atalante," said Gail Forrest, PhD, director of the Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation and associate director of the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research at the Kessler Foundation. "Most importantly, we are studying the inherent capabilities of this powered exoskeleton and how it works with the user's neuromuscular system to maintain balance and facilitate walking," Dr. Forrest explained.
"After testing on healthy volunteers, we will conduct pilot studies on individuals with a variety of mobility impairments, including those caused by stroke, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis," added Karen J. Nolan, PhD, associate director of the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research and director of the Center's Acquired Brain Injury Mobility Laboratory. "By working with the Wandercraft team, we expect to gain insights into how to improve gait rehabilitation through advanced robotic walking."