News | April 30, 2013

Posture Sensor And Smartphone App Promotes Pain-Free Backs Using Bluetooth Low Energy Wireless Technology From Nordic Semiconductor

nRF8001 Bluetooth low energy IC

The 'LUMOback' waist-worn posture sensor strap and app targets one of the most prevalent health issues in the developed world - back pain - by alerting users when they slouch and providing motivational tracking of their posture quality during the day via an app running on any Bluetooth v4.0 enabled smartphone or tablet   

Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA recently announces that U.S. startup, LUMO, has specified its 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 that comprises a waist-worn wireless sensor strap and monitoring app that are designed to promote healthier posture and avoid posture-induced back pain.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), for example, says that one half of all Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year and cite back pain as one of the most common reasons for missed work and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor's office (upper respiratory infections being the first). In addition, the ACA says Americans spend at least $50 billion a year on back pain and that experts estimate as many as 80 percent of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.

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, and 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," explains LUMO Co-Founder, 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 continues: "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 & Marketing, "and health and wellness devices designed to specifically target it are becoming increasingly common within the ultra low power wireless sector."

LUMOback is available to order direct from LUMO (see tinyurl.com/LUMOback).

About LUMO

About Bluetooth low energy, Bluetooth Smart, and Bluetooth Smart Ready 

About nRF8001

About Nordic Semiconductor ASA

SOURCE: Nordic Semiconductor

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