Recently, Fourier Intelligence, a leading Chinese company in the field of intelligent rehabilitation, gained a sizable amount of investment from Prosperity7 Ventures, a fund under the wing of the world’s largest petroleum group Saudi Aramco.
Amid the construction of a “community of health for all” and “Health Silk Road”, the cutting-edge technology of intelligent rehabilitation has the potential to transform the medicare industry in Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia.
“Over the years, Fourier Intelligence has completed the independent research and development of a series of core technologies, such as multi-axial force sensors, flexible joints, advanced robot control algorithms, and complex medical interaction technology. An open robotic technology platform has been built, on which intelligent rehabilitation products have been developed continuously according to clinical needs”, commented Gu Jie, president of the company.
Empowered by the robot technology, the company provides comprehensive intelligent rehabilitation solutions for medical institutions and patients.
Rehabilitation is an emerging industry in Pakistan, China, and Saudi Arabia. World Health Organisation defines the term as “a set of interventions designed to optimize functioning and reduce disability in individuals with health conditions in interaction with their environment”. Globally, an estimated 2.4 billion people are currently living with a health condition that benefits from rehabilitation. Instead of a service for people with long-term or physical impairments, rehabilitation is for anyone with an acute or chronic health condition, impairment or injury that limits functioning.
Intelligent rehab: an industry of the future
In recent years, prolonged life span, “diseases of civilization” such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, escalating rate of road traffic accidents, growing population, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have fueled the need for rehabilitation.
In Pakistan, the 6th populous country in the world with 64% of the population living in the rural areas, rehabilitation services urgently call for upgrading and modernisation. In China, a conservative estimate by PWC of the population needing rehabilitation has exceeded 100 million. In Saudi Arabia, the largest state in the Middle East, national survey reported the prevalence of major disabilities among children to be 6.33%.
However, the increasing need for rehabilitation is going largely unmet. Lack of prioritization, funding, policies and plans for rehabilitation at a national level, unavailable rehabilitation services outside urban areas, high out-of-pocket expenses, inadequate trained professionals, need for more research and data, and insufficient resources such as technologies and equipment are hindering the people in need from enjoying high-quality rehabilitation services.
In Pakistan, rehabilitation services are dominated by the public sector. In its National Health Vision 2016-25, innovative technologies are highlighted as a means of widening accessibility. To promote smart technology, the government has establish the Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence & Computing (PIAIC) to train future tech talent.
A research paper on the health imperatives in Pakistan also proposes that high-tech medical equipment should be mobilized to realize its Vision 2030 by the Ministry of Planning, which can be achieved through public-private partnership.
Solutions to be shared by everyone
In response to the insufficient resources and the fledgling market of medical rehabilitation, Fourier Intelligence has launched a one-stop solution: the RehabHub. With the assistance of robots, a therapist can lead multiple patients to do rehabilitation training, enhancing the efficiency of medics and the effect of therapy. Inter connectivity between robots allows data sharing and greatly reduces the need for manpower.
“In the past, only large institutions can afford rehabilitation robots. In the future, through technological reiteration supported by huge amount of investment, they will walk into the houses of ordinary people with enhanced performance and reduced cost. People can enjoy rehabilitation services in nursing homes, in the community, or even at home.”, envisioned President Gu.
In the next step, the company will build a global smart rehabilitation benchmark hospital in collaboration with Saudi Arabia.
“Our vision is to enable everyone to enjoy the robot-assisted rehabilitation methods that cover all parts of human body and all types of rehabilitation requirements”.
A Community of Health for All requires modern technology. In the wave of the fourth industrial Revolution, intelligent technologies hold broad prospects to empower the construction of the “Health Silk Road”.
Up to now, the company has signed strategic cooperation agreements with Malaysia and Singapore, both are countries along the “Belt and Road” Initiative.