Ep 129 -- Take a Deep Dive with Motus Nova CEO David Wu


Click here for a machine-generated transcript using Microsoft Word on the Web.

The Motus Hand and Motus Foot from Motus Nova ("New Movement") are air-powered, robotic exoskeletons for in home therapy after a brain injury.

Ella Sofia introduced me to the team a couple months ago, and they are now a sponsor of the Strokecast.

I wanted to learn more about the product and the company so this week I talk with Motus Nova CEO David Wu.


David Woo smiles in front of a blank white wall.

Veteran entrepreneur with over a decade's worth of experience in tech startups focused on healthcare. Recipient of the 2020 Emory Entrepreneur of the Year award in Technology and 2019 Georgia's Most Innovative Tech Startup. 

Does it make sense?

When considering any therapeutic device, you need tp start with 2 questions:

  1. Is it safe?
  2. Does it work?

Usually the first one is the easier one to answer.

In the case of the Motus Hand and Motus Food, the US Food and Drug administration has approved them as class one devices. That means they are safe and effective, so we're off to a great start.

You can go deeper, though, and look at the studies done at multiple hospitals and care centers.

Here are some examples:


Those studies can be helpful to share with your OT, PT, or physiatrist if you decide to ask your medical team (and it's always a good idea to ask your medical team).

The other element I encourage folks to consider is the cost in time and dollars to get the benefit.

Any treatment you pursue should be in addition to traditional therapies. Or it should take place when you are not already in outpatient therapy.

And that's one advantage of the Motus solutions -- you don't need to replace your existing therapist with these devices. The main problem with outpatient therapy is that we don't get enough of it. Time and again, experts come on the show and explain we need to get thousands of reps in.

Rewiring the brain is a brute force practice. We have to do the exercises and motions again and again and again to get better. You just can't achieve the scale required in a traditional outpatient therapy model. That makes the Motus devices a much needed supplement to regular therapy. That also means spending an hour a day on it while you listen to podcasts or watch TV is worth the time for most folks.

Now we can consider the financial cost. The rental model incentivizes the patient to do the work, get better, and then return the unit. At roughly $99/ week, that will make sense to a lot of folks. Maybe not for others today, but for many it is an affordable safe, and effective solution for stroke recovery.


We talk about making progress through rehab a lot, but we don't often talk about the opposite -- regression.

David told the story of a veteran who was making good progress in rehab and actually was able to get around with a walker until he went home. Once we go home, we get less therapy. And other things come up so we put off doing home exercises. Before we know it, we've missed a day. And then a week. And then is a month. We never decided to stop. We just...stopped

When that happens, we get in danger of learned non-use. Or at least of progress goin backwards.

Recovery isn't done or finished until the day we die. We have to keep doing the work. And the more work we do, the better our chances of recovery.

Hack of the week

The more our mind spins with thoughts, ideas, anxieties, embarrassing memories from 8th grade, and random TV theme songs ("Thhhhheeeeeee ship set ground on the shore of this…") the harder it can be to focus on recovery. Or even on a good night's sleep or a productive afternoon.

Meditation is a powerful way to get control of our thoughts and brains again. It can help quiet the noise that burns energy and distracts us from what's important. In Carmen De La Paz's bonus hack this week, she explains that meditation isn't about a guru or a chant. It's about a straight forward element of focus. That means you can meditate while working on a thing, Or sweeping a floor. Or breathing.

The key is to simply focus on one thing and let everything else pass from your mind.


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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