Starting as an Exercise Physiologist with RoboFit

Recent addition to the RoboFit staff, Exercise Physiologist Laura, shares her experience of joining our team.

My first day

Walking into Robofit for my first day was very exciting and daunting. While I’ve had 5 years of clinical experience and am confident in my clinical skills, this clinic is like nothing that I’ve ever experienced. Learning how to set up the equipment, use it and understand the data it produced was something completely new to me. I’m not afraid of a challenge, so I came in ready to absorb information and hoped that it would all make sense soon.

Setting up the Equipment

On my first day I was an observer, I saw how HAL was set up with a client. Learning the steps to set it up, how to adjust the exoskeleton for each person and how the settings affect the experience. I watched that first demonstration and tried to pay attention to everything, but there was a lot of information, so I was dazed and didn’t really know how the settings worked once HAL was turned on.

When I set up the exoskeleton for the first time, I was very grateful to Dan for being a guinea pig. I was very excited and nervous that I would break something (I can be very clumsy), but Dan was very helpful and patient. He helped remind me of the steps and gave instructions on how to adjust different parts of the exoskeleton. It felt like it took about an hour to set up and we did this while Dan was standing, after completing his own session. I am forever grateful to him for this time as it really helped to build my confidence.

Trying out HAL

After setting up a few people in HAL it was my turn to try it out on myself. This was a very valuable experience as I got to understand what it feels like to have something else guide my movements. Once I was in HAL, I created a profile for myself and started to adjust the settings for walking.

It was very interesting to see how little I had to do to generate movement in the exoskeleton, it even caught me off guard and I was very grateful for the forearm support frame to help steady me. I tried the different settings and functions while in HAL. I learnt that it is very important to remember what function I had set as trying to squat while in the walk function will not work out well (it makes HAL do a little jig).

Getting comfortable with the settings:
After getting comfortable with fitting HAL to clients, I still felt a bit uncomfortable with the settings. Thankfully Dan was willing to be a guinea pig again and help me try different settings on him during one of his sessions. While he was on the treadmill, I was able to try different hip supports to allow me to concentrate on the data being produced and adjust his settings accordingly. We tried many settings during this session, some more successful than others, and I emerged from this session with a greater understanding and confidence in adjusting settings.

Applying all that I’ve learnt

While learning about the equipment it was also lots of fun getting to know the clients. We are very fortunate that everyone we see is very enthusiastic, happy to share their music tastes and laugh at our bad jokes. Everyone that I have seen has been very understanding while I’ve been learning and have been engaging well with some of the new ideas that I’ve brought to their sessions. It’s been great to see that we can have fun while smashing goals and working hard.

I am excited to continue learning and developing my skills in a workplace that encourages us to push the limits of possibility.

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