Blog | Chicago Flyhouse

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Ability Lab: Part One

Written by Flyhouse | Mar 14, 2017 2:36:05 PM

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is a world-renowned medical center that specializes in the treatment of patients with debilitating issues through a model of integrated research, education and care. Each year, thousands of patients seek assistance from RIC to strengthen a part of their life and become whole again.

The previous location of RIC proved challenging in the center’s drive to provide more specialized care to accelerate the recovery process of its patients.

A decision was made to build a state-of-the-art center integrating the latest advancements in technology combined with the ability to conduct research all under the same roof. The building is 480 feet tall and provides 1.2 million square feet of floor space, including 800,000 square feet dedicated to clinical/research programs – nearly three times the current research space. The overall hospital is designed around five innovation centers and five differentiated labs including:

  • Think + Speak: "Speech & Cognition"
  • Arm + Hand: "Fine Motor"
  • Legs + Walking: "Gait & Locomotion"
  • Strength + Endurance: "Total Body"

Within the new building, pioneering technologies are front and center.

In the Strength and Endurance Lab, patients are regaining their ability to walk by strengthening core muscles within the body. What if a system could be created where a patient could safely move around the room and climb stairs knowing they are secure the entire time while a physical therapist controls all of it using handheld wireless controller?

Chicago Flyhouse came into this project originally as a pro-bono consultant to examine existing challenges within the proposed solution already given to RIC and provide suggestions on creating an aesthetically pleasing product. It became apparent the look and overall solution would impugn on the aesthetics of the venue.

“The amount of structure to support it [first proposed solution] on the staircase would have made it feel mechanical which was not the overall goal,” said Mark Witteveen, founder of Chicago Flyhouse. “The goal was to not make it look like a machine and they [RIC] felt it wouldn’t be true to the environment they were trying to create.”

After a few months of consulting, RIC asked Flyhouse this question: If you were to create your own solution from scratch, what would it be?

Flyhouse's solution will now become the first of its kind in any hospital setting in the United States.