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Wearable Tech

Valedo is wearable tech for a healthy back

At CES 2015, medical tech company Hocoma has revealed its Valedo kit -- a pair of wearable sensors that are designed to help with lower back pain.

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The Hocoma Valedo is a pair of wearables for lower back health. Nic Healey/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Swiss-based medical technology company Hocoma has revealed a new concept for wearable gear at the 2015 International CES, one with a focus on reducing or preventing lower back pain.

The Valedo is a pair of sensors that attach to your skin using medical grade double-sided tape: one at the small of your back, one on your upper chest. The two sensors then connect to the Valedo app on your iOS device via Bluetooth 4.0, running you through a series of different exercises, as well as providing a way of tracking your improvements.

The sensors need a 45-minute charge, after which they'll run for 9 or 10 hours. The Valedo ships with a dual charging cable letting you charge both at the same time. Individually they weigh around 0.6 ounce (17g) and measure 1.65 inches by 1.26 inches by 7.68 inches (42 x 32 x 16mm).

The sensor pods use an accelerometer, a gyrometer and a magnetometer to get a detailed 3D perspective of your motion across nine different vector movements. All with "millimeter precision" according Dr Robert McKenzie, the inventor of the device.

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Valedo inventor Dr Robert McKenzie shows off the "gamified" exercises. Nic Healey/CNET

The app requires you to put in your goal, such as improved stabilization or range of stretching, then it has 45 different exercise options available depending on your requirements.

A Hocoma spokeperson said that the exercises on the app are "exactly the exercises you'd do with a physiotherapist". In fact, the Valedo can be set up to send your data directly to a physiotherapy for compliance requirements in regards to any insurance claims. Of course the device can just be used for general back health as well as being part of an existing therapy regime.

The app itself runs towards the "gamification" side of the fence, with colours and animations that wouldn't look out of place on a Nintendo Wii.

Valedo has been FDA-approved for use in the US and is also available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with more countries set for the near future. In the US it retails for $359, available from the Valedo website.

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