Lumbia assesses and helps treat lower back pain
By Ben Coxworth
April 23, 2013
While lower back pain can have a variety of causes, poor posture is one of the most common culprits. Already there are a number of wearable devices available – such as the Lumoback and iPosture pendant – that detect when the user’s posture is improper, and alert them to the situation so they can correct it. The new Lumbia is one other product that performs this service, although it also provides data to therapists to assist in the treatment of back problems.
Lumbia looks quite a bit like a conventional back brace, although it contains a series of sensors and activators that make direct contact with key areas of the patient’s lumbar region. Specifically, it monitors their oblique, latissimus dorsi and extensor spinae muscles.
In an assessment session, a patient wearing the Lumbia will perform several exercises, while data is wirelessly transmitted from the device to the therapist’s PC. If the patient uses the wrong muscle groups for certain movements, the actuator(s) in that area will let them know instantly by vibrating.
Additionally, an onscreen display will notify the therapist of the nature of the problem. By knowing exactly what the patient is doing wrong, the therapist can then precisely advise them in what to do differently, then watch to see if their advice works.
Lumbia was developed through a partnership between Spanish research center Tecnalia, the FIK initiative and Italy’s BTS Bioengineering. It should be available for use by specialists next year.
It can be seen in use in the video below.