Soon it may be possible to recover from a stroke, surgical procedure or injury using "antigravity" NASA technology once only available to Olympic athletes, professional sports teams and the military. (click below to read more)
Alter-G Inc., founded in 2005 with technology developed by Robert Whalen, a researcher at NASA and the National Institutes of Health, makes treadmill exercise machines featuring a waist-high air bag.
When inflated, the air bag lifts runners off the treadmill so they can exercise without using their full body weight. Runners control how much of their weight is lifted off the treadmill.
Exercising in an "antigravity" environment, as the company calls it, takes stress off of the body, helping athletes recover from injuries. Alter-G's system for elite athletes, known as the G-Trainer, was used by American runner Shannon Rowbury ahead of the London Olympics and sells for between $70,000 and $90,000. Professional sports teams have also used the system.
Ross Jaffe, an Alter-G board member and partner at Versant Ventures, said the company is raising venture funding to push deeper into the physical-therapy market with machines that cost $25,000 to $30,000.
The system is ideal for people in need of physical therapy, especially after a stroke or an orthopedic procedure, Mr. Jaffe said, adding that he used it himself after rupturing his quadriceps tendon.