Posture Sensor and Smartphone App Promote Pain-Free Backs

May 2, 2013. Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA has announced that U.S. startup LUMO has specified Nordic's µBlue nRF8001 to provide the Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity between any Bluetooth v4.0 smartphone and tablet and LUMO's $149 LUMOback automated posture coach solution, which comprises a waist-worn wireless sensor strap and monitoring app that are designed to promote healthier posture and avoid posture-induced back pain.

In operation, after an initial calibration is performed to measure the unique curvature of the user's lower back, inertial sensors embedded within the LUMOback strap continuously track the individual's posture whether they are sitting, standing, sleeping, walking, or even running. LUMOback will both alert them via a gentle vibration if their back moves beyond an acceptable range due to slouching or slumping and provide via a dedicated app detailed motivational feedback of how well they did during the day.

The ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic Semiconductor µBlue nRF8001 enable the LUMOback Bluetooth low energy strap to run for up to four days under typical usage conditions (wearing LUMOback throughout the day on default setting with moderate connection to a compatible device) from a rechargeable lithium polymer battery.

“Sedentary lifestyles that include spending hours sitting slouched at a desk combined with a general tendency for us to slouch anyway as we go about our everyday lives can lead to all kinds of back pain issues, and even permanent curvature of the spine over the long term,” explained LUMO cofounder Andrew Chang. “To address this LUMOback has worked with spine physicians and physical therapists to develop an onboard biomechanical model of posture for the lower back that includes personalized calibration algorithms that adapt to each user's body shape. These are used to create a recommended optimal back posture model that via the LUMOback strap and associated software app promote continual correct posture mindfulness and genuine habit change.”

Chang continued, “In doing so we effectively give the user's back a voice and target the source of back pain rather than the symptoms with the aim of providing a long-term, drug-free solution that for many consumers—or indeed their employers, physicians, and medical insurers—could produce a path to lasting back health and improved posture benefits in a significantly more cost effective way than, for example, professional posture therapy or chiropractic treatments.”

“Back pain affects millions of people around the world,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's director of sales and marketing, “and health and wellness devices designed to specifically target it are becoming increasingly common within the ultra low power wireless sector.”

More in ATE