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Wearable physical therapy

Caroline Zöller

Published on 26.05.2020

Shoulder and neck pain feature permanently in the top-10 ranking of widespread diseases. Poor posture, stress, wrongly adjusted office furniture and low temperatures are all reasons for unnaturally shrugged shoulders and permanent problems. This unconscious muscle tension leads to a short supply of oxygen and a low supply of nutrients to the muscles. These then cramp leading to acute muscle tenseness and neck pain. In Germany some 21% of all gainfully employed persons are affected by this and spend plenty of time on physical therapy and back training. The young start-up equil.  now gets to the root of the problem with a textile “neck coach” which steps in where neck pains often starts: at the desk working in front of the computer screen.

The neckband developed by equil. is simply fastened to garments by means of magnets, and reports its wearer’s poor posture thereby ensuring corrective measures. The equil. neckband “equil neck” features high-tech sensors that monitor the shoulder position and an ergonomically correct posture. As soon as the neck muscles tense up the sensors on the band start vibrating or report the problem to a smartphone App. This way the wrong posture is quickly corrected. In the long term, usage should also train subconscious behaviour and body awareness making sure the user avoids poor posture to start with.

High-performance and washable

The equil. App included in the product package documents body posture during the course of the day with a Neck Score displaying relaxed and tense phases. In line with this, movement and stretching exercises are offered.

The neck band comes with a battery for 80 hours of service life. The high-tech sensors are jacketed in a textile sheath that ensures good wear properties and can be removed and washed when required.

AI is the enabler

Thanks to modern Machine Learning technology the “equil neck” can precisely forecast the fatigue of neck muscles. High-tech sensors and Artificial Intelligence recognise relevant movement and posture patterns and capture the wearer’s posture data via a learning algorithm. As soon as a non-ergonomic posture is adopted the system sounds an alarm.

The equil. neck coach is currently in the funding stage. A proof-of-concept and working prototype are available. At present, the start-up is initiating a crowd-funding campaign at Startnext. The launch is planned for this year. Interested parties can pre-order the “equil neck” here  for EUR 149.00. Deliveries are scheduled for 1 September 2020.