Hocoma is a Swiss-based company that has developed robotic exoskeletons for use in hospitals and other clinical settings for rehabilitation treatment. They have taken the knowledge that they have gained about neurological movement disorders and applied it to therapy for low back pain. The result is a system designed for consumers that helps increase range of motion and strengthen lower back muscles.
The Valedo system includes a pair of sensors that you attach your body: one at the top of the sternum (breast bone) on your chest, and one on your back at the base of your spine. Both units have 3D gyroscopes, accelerometers, and magnetometers to track the relative position of the two devices. Data is sent by a wireless Bluetooth connection to a smartphone or tablet; only iOS devices are supported at this time. The apps include games that guide you through different exercises to loosen and strengthen your back muscles. By moving your body, you control a character on the screen to navigate through the games’ terrain.
According to Hocoma representatives, daily sessions of about 10 minutes each can be sufficient to produce results. The system is FDA listed and sells for $359.