Michal Prywata, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bionik, stated: "This collaboration is the genesis of a meeting nearly a year ago where we discussed the universal importance of Big Data. 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."
ARKE is Bionik's proprietary robotic lower-body exoskeleton device that is designed to allow paraplegics as well as other wheelchair users the ability to rehabilitate through walking and other motion. Use of IBM's cognitive computing infrastructure would enable access to the exoskeleton's performance, patient data, and results of ARKE rehabilitation from multiple sites, including rehabilitation centres, physicians' offices, physiotherapists' offices, patients' homes, research centers or any other location at any time. Phase one of the IBM development project for ARKE is expected to be completed in 2016. Phase one will include the full backend required to capture the information needed for future use.
The collaboration is a result of IBM's Big Data University initiative designed to identify promising entrepreneurial and emerging technology companies and provide access to the programming expertise and engineering talent at IBM.
Leon Katsnelson, Director and Chief Technology Officer of IBM Analytic Platform Emerging Technologies, commented: "Our entrepreneurial access programme focused on adoption of cognitive computing is perfectly suited for a pioneering robotics company such as Bionik. 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 anywhere, anytime, through IBM Cloud."
Peter Bloch, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Bionik, commented: "We are honoured to be collaborating with the innovative technology partners at IBM. We believe that ARKE, when used with the solution being developed together with IBM, will have the potential to significantly improve physicians' and physiotherapists' access to analytics related to use of ARKE."
Mr. Prywata added: "Importantly, 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. We believe that these advancements have the potential to be a key differentiating factor for not only ARKE, but other medical devices as well, with the goal of providing improvements in the quality of life for individuals and their families as well as a broad socio-economic impact."
As part of phases two and three of the project, Bionik engineers together with data scientists at IBM are expected to develop machine-learning algorithms designed to analyze large volumes of sensor data generated by ARKE. The analytical programme is expected to be an important tool in identifying the correlation between different rehabilitation regimens using the ARKE exoskeleton and understanding the therapeutic results from these physio-protocol programs over certain measures of time.