Innovation That Matters

Wearable sensors gamify physical therapy

Sport & Fitness

The Valedo is the latest wearable healthcare offering to gamify exercise — this time, for back-pain sufferers.

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The Valedo is a Swiss invention, consisting of two sensors, which a user can temporarily attach to themselves and sync with a companion app via bluetooth. The app then gamifies a series of 45 motivational, therapeutic exercises designed to improve movement awareness, fine muscle control, stretching, balance and spinal stability.

Of course, there are already products such as LUMOback on the market which promise to monitor and improve a user’s back and posture. The Valedo improves upon earlier offerings, however, by requiring short bursts of activity rather than long periods wearing inconvenient trappings: the company claims that 10-15 minutes of exercise per weeks for two weeks can make a notable difference for those suffering from lower back pain.

The Valedo is retailing for EUR 299 and the company hopes it will be adopted by medical practitioners to encourage longterm self-regulated therapy for back pain sufferers. You can watch the promotional video below:

To begin, users simply attach the sensors to their body with medical tape — one on the chest and one on the lower back. The app then guides them through the exercises via a series of simple gaming levels. Different levels can be completed lying down, sitting or standing. The sensors use a 3D gyroscope, a 3D accelerometer, a 3D magnetometer and a series of algorithms to monitor the wearer’s performance and presents progress reports, for both the user and their physiotherapist.

The gamification of the exercises gives the Valedo an edge over competitors — transforming a chore into a comprehensive and satisfying task. It’s a strategy we’ve seen employed in many other platforms — such as Blue Goji and Loop

which enable users to make the leap from exercise to gaming without really noticing. What other areas of healthcare could be gamified?



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