Rekovo Turns Physical Therapy into Modern Art

By Jerred Ziegler

Columbus-based Rekovo is on a mission to give art therapy a new meaning, and the patients using their technology additional motivation to improve. Using technology developed at The Ohio State University, the company encourages patients in rehabilitation to create digital art by moving more.

Here’s how it works: patients use Rekovo in a rehab session and put a sensor on the part of their body that is being exercised with the physical therapist. This sensor contains a movement-tracking gyroscope which can record their motions and visually display them on a screen in the form of colorful, modern art.

“The more the patient can move, the quicker they recover,” said Alex Purtell, the head of growth and marketing for Rekovo. “Our technology makes this movement visual, which encourages the patients to move even more and push toward recovery.”

Rekovo’s technology is mainly used by patients who have neurological disorders, traumatic brain injuries or who have injured themselves in a fall. There are currently 80 physical therapists using Rekovo in a variety of different settings – at universities, adult and pediatric hospitals, out-patient facilities and nursing homes. This variety was intentional so the Rekovo team could receive feedback on their technology in all types of rehab settings. The ultimate goal is for patients to take Rekovo home and continue to use it there.

“Research shows that most rehab gains are made at home and we want to help drive those numbers even higher,” said Purtell. “All patients need in order to use our technology in their homes in an internet connection. They can start using it immediately and therapists can track their progress from an admin dashboard.”

Purtell and his co-founder Todd Whittington were first introduced to the Rekovo technology and its inventor Lise Worthen-Chaudhari at a Startup Snapshot. These events are hosted bi-annually by Ohio State’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO). In October 2014 they were awarded a $100,000 Phase 2 Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund (TVSF) grant from Ohio Third Frontier to continue growing the business.

Rekovo’s current focus is to continue gathering data from the physical therapists currently using the technology, and then do pilot programs in large hospital systems across the United States. The team is working with angel investors to raise additional capital, and are looking to expand their team in both technology development and marketing, all while keeping their home base here in Ohio.

“Your money takes you so much further in Ohio than it would on either of the coasts. You’re able to do more and see more gains, while using less capital,” said Purtell. “This allows companies like ours to really accelerate faster than we would if we were in New York or California.”

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