Spend a little time browsing through Medgadget‘s headlines and you’ll immediately notice that the number of wearable- and smart phone-enabled devices coming to market is skyrocketing. There are devices that measure your sleep EEG patterns, activity level, pulse, stress, and ECG waves to name a few. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Monisha Perkash, a co-founder of LUMOback, which is a promising new entry into the consumer medical device market. They recently launched a Kickstarter page in order to gear up for the first round of production, and already have over 1,000 backers who’ve collectively pledged over $100,000 – far exceeding their initial goal. Read on to find out what has these people shelling out for this new device.
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: How does the LUMOback work?
Monisha Perkash: LUMOback’s wireless sensor + mobile app provides real-time feedback on posture and movement, empowering people to live healthier lives. Our solution encourages small behavioral changes that yield dramatic improvements in health.
We sit much of our lives, and most of the time in bad posture. Besides being scientifically linked to back pain (which is a $50B/yr expense affecting 80% of Americans at some point in their lives) posture also impacts appearance, confidence, and fitness.
The hard part about posture is being aware, and that’s where LUMOback helps. The wearable sensor provides a gentle vibration when the user slouches, reminding him or her to sit or stand straight, and records biomechanical movements and posture data. The sensor can also transmit this data via Bluetooth to a mobile application which provides visual feedback through an avatar that mirrors the wearer’s movements, including sitting, standing, walking, running, sleeping, etc. The app also tracks the user’s progress by showing trend data about how a user’s posture and movement are improving or declining.
Medgadget: Who should use the LumoBack?
Perkash: LUMOback is useful for anyone who wants to improve their posture, whether they are motivated by back problems, appearance, confidence, or fitness. We’ve made LUMOback simple so that it integrates into your daily routine.
Medgadget: What are the main results from your user testing studies and have you published them anywhere?
Perkash: We do extensive user testing on every aspect of the product. In fact, it was user testing that compelled us to pivot away from the adhesive form factor and adapt to the band that we’re using today.
Our results are not published- we iterate fast and make changes based on what we observe. Therefore we haven’t set up studies in the traditional sense (i.e. clinical studies) yet, but we do have a few academic studies with leading institutions in the works.
I want to emphasize that we focus on postural improvement. We have also written a white paper about the strong correlation between posture and back pain.
Medgadget: It looks like your Kickstarter page has been receiving a lot of traffic, and funding (congratulations on meeting your goal way ahead of schedule!). You raised $1.1 million back in April, so can you talk about why you decided to Kickstart LUMOback?
Perkash: We’re using Kickstarter to fund our initial production run- this includes paying for tooling costs, ordering the plastic, fabric, and electronic components, and assembling the units (right here in the USA by the way). Also, Kickstarter has been a great way to test product demand and get feedback from people throughout the world.
Medgadget: Are you planning on applying for FDA or CE approval?
Perkash: Currently we are building LUMOback as a consumer device, as the FDA’s draft guidelines last summer specifically mentioned posture apps as outside of their regulatory purview. However, we believe in building products that will truly benefit people from a health standpoint, and we will apply for FDA clearance in the future. We are obtaining the CE mark.
Medgadget: How did you come up with the name and logo for LUMOback?
Perkash: Our founding team believes in aspiring for greater mind-body awareness, and felt that “Lumo” (taken from luminous) evokes a sense of brightness and enlightment. So, “Lumo” coupled with “Back” really got at the core of what we’d like our product to do: create more awareness of one’s posture.
We’re also motivated by empowering people to live healthier lives, and to take small steps that can yield dramatic improvements in health. That’s where the exponent in our logo comes in- it’s Lumo, to the power of YOU.
Also, you’ll notice that the colors in our logo are progressions of the color green, from lighter to darker; this also symbolizes the small steps that we can all take towards becoming our better selves.
Product page: LUMOback