Lite Run Inc. of St. Paul has won a $100,000 grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research to develop of a home version of its Lite Run mobility device, which is used in clinical rehabilitation for the treatment of patients with gait and balance difficulties.

"We are grateful to receive the recognition and resources that winning this competitive grant provides," said John Hauck, president of Lite Run. “Physical therapists and the rehabilitation community are excited about Lite Run’s technology that allows stroke and spinal cord-injured patients to begin walking therapy safely, comfortably and possibly sooner than other methods."

The planned home device has application for the large long-term disabled population, and it would complement Lite Run’s available Gait Trainer product for use in hospitals and care facilities.

The technology uses differential air pressure inside a specially engineered suit to effectively reduce up to 50 percent of a patient’s body weight, allowing for longer therapy sessions.

Lite Run says its system includes several innovations:

     

  • Anti-gravity science, so that just as the pressure of water in a swimming pool pushes a swimmer's body up and out of the water, the air pressure inside the Lite Run suit provides lift to the patient. Patients’ joints retain mobility even when the suit is fully pressurized.
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  • Dynamic unweighting, so a patient’s effective body weight may be reduced by up to 50 percent. The weight the patient needs to support on his or her own is reduced, making walking and balance easier.
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The Minnesota office of Small Business and Innovation Research, housed within the Minnesota High Tech Association, assisted Lite Run with its grant application.

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