Two young Polish scientists are helping place Poland on the forefront of innovation and technological advancement with their recent invention—a robot specially designed to provide therapy for children suffering from cerebral palsy and other gait issues.
Grzegorz Piątek developed the Prodrobot automatized gait trainer in 2010, which is now being used in a few clinics across Poland and will be used in more. I recently had the opportunity to speak with one of the developers, Bartłomiej Wielogórski, who works with Piątek, and oversees their newly-found company Prodromus.
What was the inspiration behind the Prodrobot?
“Grzegorz Piątek (my brother in law) is the inventor of Prodrobot. In 2010, when he was a student, he wanted to finish his studies with something which would not only be theoretical, but also a real and working device.
His colleague was a father of two boys affected by cerebral palsy. When Grzegorz heard his story, he decided to help him by building a medical device that could provide long term treatment for the boys. The resulting invention was the first prototype of the Prodrobot. After graduating, he decided to donate the robot to the boys.”
What sets the Prodrobot apart from the competition?
“The Prodrobot is the only device on the market that allows the user to train all six joints of the lower limbs at the same time, making it equivalent to having six trainers!
A sitting assistant allows the patient to adjust himself or herself while sitting and, unlike other machines, it does not have a treadmill, which makes it possible for patients with ankle joint problems to still train. It’s also extremely adjustable for patients whose limbs are different lengths.
Finally, it’s very easy to use, even for young kids. The accompanying software does not require specialized knowledge and only a few hours’ worth of training should suffice—if you can use a cash machine, you can use the Prodrobot .”
How affordable is the Prodrobot, and where is it being used?
“The Prodrobot is three to six times less expensive than other, larger gait training devices. Currently, there is a Prodrobot being used in a private healthcare center in Warsaw. Soon, Prodrobots will also be used in a private healthcare center in Krakow and a children’s hospital in northern Poland. We often showcase the Prodrobot at conferences, congresses and other events all over the country.”
How do you think that innovations like the Prodrobot will impact how the world sees Poland?
“I hope that our Prodrobot will be a very effective tool to show other nations that we have good inventors and engineers in Poland. We can manufacture, develop and sell our Prodrobot all over the world. Most importantly, we can effectively help children all over the world make their adulthood more comfortable and happy.”
Wielogórski and Piątek plan to make the Prodrobot available throughout Europe and eventually around the world. Wielogórski mentioned that they will continue to improve upon the Prodrobot and develop other rehabilitative devices as well.
For more information about the Prodrobot, visit http://www.prodromus.pl/