Physiofunction Ltd and Rex Bionics plc will launch RAP at Aspire on 15th January.

Aspire is a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury; Physiofunction is one of the UK's leading providers of specialist hands-on Neurological Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Technology services, and Rex Bionics plc is the pioneer of the REX Robot technology that enhances the mobility of wheelchair users.

Robot Assisted Physiotherapy will be launched at the Aspire Leisure Centre in Stanmore on January 15th at 4pm, when a London-based film producer will walk with the support of the REX robot for the first time since he battled back from life threatening injuries sustained in an accident 11 years ago.

Nicholas Fearon known as ‘Pikki’, who broke his back in 2004, was told he would never walk again, but with his sheer determination Pikki turned his life around and has gone on to produce highly acclaimed feature films ‘Rollin With The Nines.’ and ‘Dead Man Running’. Keen to help others with spinal injuries Pikki is a regular visitor and mentor at Aspire, preparing for the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and inspiring people with disabilities to make the most of their lives by sharing his own personal experiences.

Aspire, PhysioFunction and Rex Bionics want to support as many people as possible with mobility impairments and give those who could benefit from Robot Assisted Physiotherapy a chance to do so by launching an appeal to raise funds to purchase a REX device.

During Robot-Assisted Physiotherapy (RAP), REX lifts patients from a sitting position into a robot-supported standing position, allowing them to take part in a set of supported walking and stretching exercises designed by specialist physiotherapists.

Wheelchair users are at risk of developing numerous medical complications from extended periods of sitting. By enabling them to spend more time standing, walking and exercising, REX may offer significant health benefits, including improved cardiovascular performance, maintenance of joint range, and a reduction in infections.

Jon Graham, Chief Executive of PhysioFunction, said: “Exoskeletons offer significant benefits for the management of secondary complications for wheelchair users compared with conventional rehabilitation methods. REX offers additional benefits to the user, because unlike other exoskeletons which require the use of crutches or a walking frame for stability, it allows users to retain the use of their hand and upper body.”

Brian Carlin, Chief Executive of Aspire said “We are delighted to be hosting the Rex Bionics and PhysioFunction event at Aspire. Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Aspire provides practical help to spinal cord injured people across the UK, helping them move from injury to independence. We are therefore excited to be able to support Physio Function’s Robot Assisted Physiotherapy with REX which can help disabled people to maximise their independence.”

Pikki, who is the first person to use REX at Aspire said “Standing and walking again in REX felt weird and wonderful but natural at the same time. It’s fantastic to be back at eye level with everyone again”.