Neuromodulation suit to reduce spasticity: Ottobock integrates startup
The Exopulse Mollii Suit may improve mobility for people affected by a stroke, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
On 13 January, Ottobock acquired Exoneural Network, a Swedish growth-stage startup that developed the innovative Exopulse Mollii Suit. The garment covers the entire body and uses electrical impulses to relax tense muscles. This effect may improve the mobility for people with spasticity and may help them gaining autonomy.
By acquiring all the shares in Exoneural Network, international MedTech company Ottobock is expanding its portfolio in the promising field of neuro-orthotics: “Alongside expanding treatment options for our users, we aim to maximise the synergies between the startup’s technology and our orthotic fittings,” says CEO Philipp Schulte-Noelle of Ottobock. “The acquisition is a perfect fit for our strategy to address muscular disorders in neuro-orthotics. We will now be working to integrate the company into the Ottobock family with the team of new colleagues from sales, research and development.” Exoneural Network will continue to oversee development and production, while Ottobock is taking over global distribution of the product and opening up the market for the technology.
How does the Exopulse Mollii Suit work?
The suit is equipped with 58 imbedded electrodes, which trained professionals adjust to the user’s individual needs via a control unit. The low-frequency electrostimulation improves blood circulationand restores the previously inhibited balance between muscles pairs. If, for example, the biceps is tensed, the suit stimulates the tricep, which in turn causes the biceps to relax and at the same time facilitates the activation of the tricep. As such, the technology works in a complementary way to functional electrical stimulation (FES), in which nerves are stimulated with small electrical impulses in order to trigger movements. Neuromodulation is a technology that acts directly upon nerves with the purpose of producing a natural biological response. It is the alteration - or modulation - of nerve activity by delivering electrical agents directly to a target area. Reciprocal inhibition - induced by the EXOPULSE Mollii - is an example of a natural biological response through neuromodulation.
Who is the Exopulse Mollii Suit intended for?
Tense muscles occur as a result of spastic paralysis and other neurological movement disorders. They are caused, for example, by stroke, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. The Exopulse Mollii Suit may also support successful rehabilitation following severe brain injuries, as evidenced by testimonials such as that of former ski cross athlete Anna Holmlund of Sweden. Following her accident, the suit helped her partly regain her mobility.
How does this work in practice?
K. Weber (25) from Germany, one of the suit’s users, shares his successes with a public audience. The young man suffers from severe tremor, which frequently causes his entire body to shake. His muscles cramp due to the neurological disorder, which makes it difficult to do simple things sometimes. In Mr. Weber’s case, the Exopulse Mollii Suit activates and relaxes respectively the dominant and antagonist muscles to control tremors. “I can finally dream about going back to work again,” he says. K. Weber was one of the first users of the Exopulse Mollii Suit to be reimbursed by his health insurance company.
Further information at www.exopulse.com
*Note: This article was originally published as a press release on 20/01/2021 and updated on 04/05/2021 after integration.