STAMFORD, Conn., Oct. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SoldierStrong, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping military veterans take their next steps forward through the use of revolutionary medical technology, is teaming up with renowned inventor Dean Kamen and DEKA Research and Development Corp. to donate 10 iBOT wheelchairs to individual wounded veterans, co-founder and chairman Chris Meek said Tuesday.
“The goal of this donation is to create lasting, life-changing impacts on the physical and mental health of those who have served our country,” said Meek, who made the announcement remotely during the Veterans Health Administration’s Innovation Experience (iEX) conference in Washington, D.C.
The iBOT wheelchair, which is the brainchild of Kamen in partnership with his company, DEKA, and Johnson & Johnson’s Independent Technology division, is a one-of-a-kind powered wheelchair that climbs stairs, allows users to rise from sitting level to six feet tall, maintains superior balance compared to other products on the market and can withstand travel through sand and standing water.
“Dean Kamen is one of the most recognized and sought-after innovators of our time. He’s made it his life’s work to invent technology, like the iBOT, that improves the lives of others,” Meek said. “With such an iconic status in the science and technology communities, it was a tremendous honor to introduce Dean today at the VHA Innovation Experience. It is also with sincerest gratitude that I thank him for his support of SoldierStrong and his commitment to share DEKA’s life-changing iBOT with veterans who desperately deserve access to this type of disruptive technology.”
The VHA Innovation Experience (iEX) is an annual conference that brings innovators and inventors, medical health experts, veterans, and the public together to showcase and celebrate emerging innovations, partnerships and technologies that improve and save veterans’ lives.
Donations of the iBOTs are the latest effort by SoldierStrong to provide revolutionary medical technologies to help injured veterans lead full lives. SoldierStrong has donated $3.8 million in state-of-the-art medical devices to individual veterans and Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country. These devices include hyper-advanced prosthetics, specialized rehabilitation, and the organization’s signature device, the SoldierSuit exoskeleton used in the rehabilitation of spinal injuries and strokes and to help paralyzed individuals become more mobile. To date, SoldierStrong has donated 22 SoldierSuits, or exoskeletons, that allow some paralyzed veterans to stand and walk again.
A four-year mental health study by the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System that included use of a SoldierSuit found that paralyzed veterans able to maintain an eye-level view of the world experienced better mental and physical health and a decline in suicidal thoughts or attempts.
“This donation of iBOTs allows SoldierStrong to provide technologies that simultaneously address the needs of physical and mental health,” Meek said. “The iBOT’s unique capabilities will allow veterans who receive a donation to feel secure, independent and enjoy a sense of confidence unmatched by other devices.”
CONTACT: CHRISTINA STROBACK