Researchers Combine SportsArt ICARE System with Virtual Reality for Effective and Innovative Rehabilitation Routines

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SEATTLE, Washington — The innovative, fully-integrated Madonna ICARE system by SportsArt, a leader in socially responsible fitness equipment and solutions for over 40 years, was recently used in a study that found the system even more effective in rehabilitation when used in conjunction with virtual reality gaming equipment. 

Developed at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and Research Institute, ICARE is a fully-integrated system that provides a safe, effective method for assisting patients with neuromuscular disorders. The device frees clinicians from hours of strenuous manual lifting and advancing of the legs and expands patient access to assistive technology while closely mimicking kinematic and electromyographic patterns of walking. ICARE training can help individuals regain or retain the flexibility and strength required for walking, particularly if the muscle demands are customized to those with weakness during rehab. 

A 2022 study published in Frontiers found that combining the ICARE system with virtual reality gaming helped pediatric patients recover more effectively. The study sought to identify how integration of VR gaming and the ICARE system impacts children’s perception of engagement, physiologic effort and joint kinematics while overriding the motor’s assistance. Results suggest that “non-immersive VR gaming can play a role in promoting greater engagement and physiologic effort in children.” Researchers noted that children were more engaged, trained faster and put in greater effort when using VR in conjunction with the ICARE, allowing the system to provide an even more effective rehabilitation routine. 

“SportsArt partnered with Madonna to create intuitive and versatile equipment that will help rehabilitation facilities get patients back to living their best life, and we’re thrilled to see the new ways the ICARE can help achieve that goal,” said Ruben Mejia, executive vice president of SportsArt Americas. “As an organization, SportsArt is always looking forward, and we’re happy to be providing equipment that helps facilitate innovative and effective new methods of rehabilitation.” 

More than ten years after its introduction, researchers are still finding unique and exciting new ways to implement the paradigm-shifting ICARE technology. After making its debut in July of 2012, the device won the 2013 international Da Vinci Innovation Award in the recreation and leisure category. 

“The Madonna ICARE was developed with patients in mind, and it’s exciting to be able to enhance its effectiveness with innovations like virtual reality,” said Madonna Director for the Institute of Rehabilitation Science and Engineering Judith Burnfield, who co-authored the study and co-invented the technology. “We believe the outcomes of this study can help guide design of future VR-enhanced interventions and research studies.” 

About SportsArt 

SportsArt is the leader in sustainable gym equipment, revolutionizing the way people stay fit with its ECO-POWR line. With more than 38 years of innovative design and manufacturing experience, SportsArt consistently seeks to advance industry standards, positioning itself as one of the most creative manufacturers in quality fitness, medical and residential equipment. SportsArt is one of the largest single brand manufacturers in the world and is sold in over 70 countries worldwide. With over 500,000 square feet of state-of-the art manufacturing space, SportsArt designs, manufactures and tests all equipment.