Step into the new Building Trades of Alberta Courage Centre at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, and it feels like the opening scene of a science fiction movie.

Myriad scientists (or, in this case, occupational therapists) demonstrated a slew of advanced technologies designed to rehabilitate mobility-impaired individuals from across the country on Thursday.

“It’s designed to facilitate (an) active range of motion in the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers,” said Quentin Ranson, an occupational therapist.

The apparatus supports the weight of an arm so that the patient can practice mobility.

Demonstrations included a driving simulator, a Nintendo Wii balance activity centre, a floor-based game system designed to increase agility in the feet, and a classroom environment with a Smartboard, a type of interactive digital chalkboard.

The most interesting piece of technology in the room was a robot suit, nicknamed “Barbara,” designed to support patients completely while the machine moves their limbs in a walking simulation.

“This is a piece of robotic equipment we’re using specifically for neurological populations to try to increase the amount of ambulation they’re getting through the day,” said centre employee Alyson Kwok. “Hopefully it improves their over-ground ambulation.”

The hospital’s executive director was sure to give credit to the people who helped make the centre possible.

“It really was the vision and the ingenuity and the courage of the volunteer board of trustees at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation that envisioned re-purposing this atrium in the hospital to become a hub for rehabilitation technology”, said Mary O’Neill.