In 1997 GyroStim inventor Kevin Maher and his wife gave birth to a little girl. Born three months premature, she was diagnosed with severe spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy and given a prognosis of significant physical dysfunction and challenges ahead.
When she reached age 4, her parents were told that her very poor balance might benefit by adding vestibular stimulation to her daily home therapy program. She was prescribed a regimen of hundreds of chair spins, log rolls, and somersaults--- every day.
This additional therapy was back-breaking work and there was no practical or easy method to provide it.
There had to be a better way.
Mackenzie at age 3, propped
up for a holiday photo.
Mackenzie at age 18, preparing
to enter college.
Determined to find a better way, Maher applied his 25 years of experience with robotics systems towards engineering a solution.
He designed and built an easier, safer, and more efficient way to provide his daughter with vestibular stimulation, resulting in the first prototype of the GyroStim.
Maher's daughter, Mackenzie, made unexpected and rapid gains, not only in balance, but also in other gross and fine motor abilities, trunk control, energy level, speech, and overall abilities. It soon became apparent that the vestibular stimulation from his unique combination of pitch and yaw rotations had triggered a cascade of significant additional gains well beyond the goal of simply improving her balance.
Inspired by his daughter's progress, Maher continued development of the unique rotating chair. Meanwhile, Mackenzie's unprecedented gains caught the attention and interest of therapists, doctors, and researchers. This affirmation reinforced his decision to move forward with the launch of a new company, UltraThera Technologies.
Soon after the company was formed, the United States Air Force Academy purchased the first GyroStim. The second system went to the Mayo Clinic Aerospace Medical Vestibular Research Laboratory, further validating the broader interest in this new technology, with additional sales soon to follow.
GyroStim in 2008 at United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
Maclean's magazine published an exclusive cover story in November 2011 about NHL superstar, Sidney Crosby, and how GyroStim helped him get back in the game following multiple concussions that nearly ended his career.
January 2011: Sidney Crosby was sidelined indefinitely with balance related challenges following back-to-back concussions that many feared would force him out of the game permanently.
August 2011: After months of "rest and do nothing" and trying other conventional strategies with little or no progress, Crosby's advisors recommended a new strategy: GyroStim. Within days, Crosby was back on the ice and soon cleared for full-contact practice.
November 2011: After nearly 11 months of being sidelined, Crosby was cleared to play and returned to the ice in one of the most spectacular comeback stories in NHL history.
In 2012 Sidney Crosby had returned to his peak athletic performance and went on to sign a 12-year $104.4M contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and GyroStim became widely recognized for being the breakthrough technology that helped Crosby regain his spot at the top of the NHL.
Since then, GyroStim technology and methodology have progressed along an evolutionary path that continues to be driven by demand and the never ending pursuit for advancements in human performance and quality of life.
Today, GyroStim is a powerful multi-purpose platform used at clinics, universities, sports training centers, and aerospace research laboratories in eight countries around the world.
Fast forward to present: Mackenzie, the inspiration for GyroStim, refuses to be labeled with a diagnosis or held back by a prognosis. Today, she is a busy university student working towards a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.
She is accomplished, unstoppable in both ability and spirit, and is poised to take the world by storm with what is sure to be a bright and vibrant future.