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Cionic's Neural Sleeve wins multiple honors for excellence in design this year

Nov 13, 2023Nov 13, 2023

Cionic's leg-worn garment designed to boost strength and walking performance

by Patricia Inacio, PhD | August 30, 2023

Cionic’s Neural Sleeve, a leg-worn garment designed to boost strength and walking performance in people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), has won multiple awards in this year’s International Design Excellence Awards program.

The event, organized by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), is touted as one of the oldest and most prestigious design awards programs. It recognizes products and services that bring significant benefit to users, clients, and society.

Among the top awards given to Cionic this year are the gold award for Digital Interaction and the silver award recognition for design in the Medical & Health category.

“So often, design — whether aesthetic or functional — is an afterthought for assistive technology,” Jeremiah Robison, founder and CEO of Cionic, said in a company press release. “Our goal with the Cionic Neural Sleeve was to create something that not only provides essential and innovative support, but also that blends seamlessly into the wearer’s life in both function and form.”

“We are honored to have received multiple awards from the IDSA in recognition of those efforts, the preeminent authority on design excellence,” Robison added.

Available in several sizes and colors, the Neural Sleeve is a lightweight garment that enables those with conditions such as MS to become more mobile. The leg-worn “sleeve” has multiple sensors that allow it to analyze, predict, and improve the wearer’s movement through the use of algorithms.

This is achieved through electric impulses delivered to the muscles when the device’s algorithm senses movements during walking. These impulses activate the muscles required for more natural movement while walking. It also allows real-time adjustments.

The electrical stimulation is believed to ease walking problems that arise as a result of muscle weakness or foot drop, when the front of the foot does not lift up when taking a step, which increases the risk of falling.

Past studies showed the sleeve led to marked improvements in patients’ ability to lift their toes, and it also reduced the risk of turning in of their feet during swing, which are two key measures associated with foot drop.

The Neural Sleeve is the first true bionic clothing device combining sensing, analysis, and augmentation into a sleek, wearable garment, according to Cionic.

The device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year to improve walking in people with MS and other conditions that affect mobility.

This year, the company selected the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to be the first location for the company’s Center of Excellence program, where patients can schedule a session to try out the Neural Sleeve.

“Health and design are the best allies on behalf of patients,” said Yves Béhar, founder and CEO of fuseproject, which collaborated with Cionic to create the sleeve. “Unlike traditional medical devices, our aim was to design everyday mobility assistance that is at once comfortable and attractive.”

“To design alongside Cionic is to have the opportunity to work in service of people’s overall health and wellness, and — through that — to advance their goal to improve mobility and to instill in those who wear the Cionic Neural Sleeve a sense of pride and independence that positively accelerates their advancement towards wellness of being and body,” Béhar added.