Introducing: Kieran O’Brien
RoboFit is all about developing a custom exoskeleton training program to suit your needs. As RoboFit’s head trainer, Kieran will be working with clients, developing a bespoke program to achieve their goals.
We sat down with Kieran to learn a little more about his background and what he’s doing.
Tell us about your background? (Study, previous work experience etc).
I started studying a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology in 2010 at UNSW, after graduating from high school the year prior. At the time, I had no idea what an Exercise Physiologist was or what they did, but it was something that intrigued me the moment I started the degree.
I graduated from that degree in 2013 and went on to start a casual job at Burn Rubber Burn, a Sydney based program. This program was dedicated to people living in the community with various neurological conditions and provided them with means to access gym equipment that many of us take for granted.
What struck me most was not just the physical benefits associated with this program, but the social and mental health improvements amongst the clients who relished in the opportunity to enter a social setting with ease and associate with people who had been through similar life experiences.
Before long, Burn Rubber Burn was incorporated into Spinal Cord Injuries Australia’s suite of exercise services which included Walk On. This merger went on to become NeuroMoves where I worked in numerous capacities until 2021.
How did you initially become exposed to the use of exoskeletons in rehab?
I was first exposed to exoskeletons in rehab while I was working at NeuroMoves in 2017, when several of my colleagues were fortunate enough to receive training on the use of the REX exoskeleton from REX bionics.
Not long after, I was the beneficiary of the same training program and began using the REX exoskeleton myself.
It was plain to see the potential of technology such as this and how revolutionary it could be within the neuro rehab space. Clients were always eager to try it and those that did, often showed significant improvement with the appropriate training.
In the time since, I’ve been exposed to several other options on the market from an observational standpoint, and am now lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the HAL technology.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your career so far?
The most rewarding part of my job on a daily basis is seeing the efforts the clients put into their recovery and seeing the life changing benefits they got from it. Sometimes, what might seem like the smallest of improvements can have immensely positive effects on a person’s independence.
You’ve been training with HAL for a week now. What have you found surprising so far?
The most surprising thing about the HAL has been seeing how hard it can make the clients work. While the technology that drives this exoskeleton and its potential to drive neuroplasticity is remarkable, I was honestly not expecting to see the strenuous workout that it can demand from its users.
Seeing Daniel work up a sweat and be absolutely exhausted after 10-15 minutes of walking on the treadmill while also experiencing neural excitability below his level of injury has me excited to see what this type of training can do across numerous sessions and how it can help people living with these injuries achieve their goals.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone that wants to begin training with HAL?
The hardest part about any training is quite often just starting, so my best advice would be to get started because once you do, you’ll quickly see the potential that this technology has to improve your functional capacity and help you achieve your goals.
If you’re interested in learning more about RoboFit or training with Kieran, fill out our online enquiry form via out contact page.