IBM partners with micro-cap Bionik for machine learning algorithms in robotic exoskeleton

Several companies are working on robotic exoskeletons to enable more mobility for paraplegics, but few have focused on the data that could be generated from them. Now IBM has partnered with microcap robotic exoskeleton player Bionik Laboratories to do just that. It will apply its machine-learning algorithms in an effort to analyze data to improve the outcomes of neurological rehabilitation.

Arke robotic exoskeleton--Courtesy of Bionik

"This collaboration is the genesis of a meeting nearly a year ago where we discussed the universal importance of big data," said Bionik co-founder and COO Michal Prywata in a statement. "During our follow-on conversations we began to realize synergies and started to discuss potential ways in which we could work together to develop an intelligent analytics platform for Arke."

To do that, the partners will analyze exoskeleton performance, patient and site rehabilitation data. The first phase involving data collection is expected to be complete this year. It will be followed by another phase in which Bionik engineers and IBM data scientists develop machine-learning algorithms designed to analyze the large volumes of sensor data generated by Arke, Bionik's robotic exoskeleton.

The data and analyses are expected to enable the identification of the best rehabilitation regiments that use the Arke exoskeleton and to better understand the therapeutic results from particular protocols over time.

"Our entrepreneurial access program focused on adoption of cognitive computing is perfectly suited for a pioneering robotics company such as Bionik," said Leon Katsnelson, director and chief technology officer of IBM Analytic Platform Emerging Technologies. "IBM recognizes the potential of Bionik's Arke exoskeleton and is eager to assist Bionik in their quest to provide advanced data analytics to rehabilitation specialists."

The Arke is a robotic lower-body exoskeleton device designed to enable paraplegics and other wheelchair uses to rehabilitate through walking and other motions. The IBM collaboration is a result of IBM's Big Data University that's designed to enable it to work with emerging tech companies.

Concluded Bionik's Prywata, "This proprietary system will enable us to develop a better understanding of the data collected during Arke patient sessions and, most importantly, advance the correlation between patient regimens with patient results and strategically work to improve overall outcomes for these individuals."

- here is the announcement