Next Step Robotics, Inc.

Ditch the Crutch

The Team

Brad Hennissie, MBA
co-Founder and CEO

Richard Macko, MD
co-Founder and CSO

Anindo Roy, PhD
co-Founder and CTO

Larry Forrester, PhD
co-Founder, Resident Scientist

The Problem

There are 5,000,000 stroke survivors in the US and 800,000 new strokes per year. Of these approximately 30% suffer from foot drop, a mobility disability inhibiting individuals from lifting their toe while walking making them a high fall risk. While stroke is a major cause of foot drop, it can also result from MS, Parkinson’s, diabetic neuropathy, and orthopeadic injuries or surgeries. Our customer interviews have informed us the existing 123,500 rehabilitation centers cannot effectively treat foot drop with current methods and are left prescribing archaic, rigid braces that immobilize the ankle. Any attempt to treat the condition outside of immobilizing the ankle is extremely labor intensive involving one or two Physical Therapists and is still ineffective. The current care options are so limited clinics either turn away patients looking for foot drop therapy or they only see them for a few weeks for a “tune-up” knowing there is no long-term reimbursement for the limited outcomes.

Our Solution

We are providing clinics the ability to offer personalized robotic therapy to patients through adaptive software that provides a personalized assist as needed approach. This is the first ever clinically proven option to effectively treat foot drop. Our robot is easy to use and designed to be run by lower skilled clinic staff freeing up therapists to focus on more hands modalities. As we collect more data, the software will transition into an AI-based system to assess and assigns training protocols optimized for each patient’s deficit. The improved outcomes will allow clinics to provide reimbursable therapy using existing CPT codes for gait training on a patient base they currently have no treatment for. The device will be registered with the FDA as a Class 1 Exercise Device; and so, it can be sold and used WITHOUT FDA APPROVAL. Allowing NextStep Robotics to immediately generate revenue through: 1) Direct sales/leasing of robots; 2) Subscription to software service; 3) Service contracts

Real Results

85% of participants in a small randomized study self discarded their ankle foot orthotics or reduced dependance of their assistive devices. These results were seen years post stroke, well outside of the usual 3-6 month recvovery window.

Forrester LW, Roy A, Hafer-Macko C, Krebs HI, Macko RF. Task-specific ankle robotics gait training after stroke: a randomized pilot study. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. 2016;13:51.

Stroke survivor using the Next Step AmbleBot. Click the image to view the movie.  
Without the AmbleBot the person swings his leg to avoid dragging his toe. 
Note the heel first landing using the AmbleBot.
The device trains the user to lift his toe and put his heel down first, relying on the plasticity of the brain to “relearn” the correct movement.