Thimble Bioelectronics developing wearable pain relief patch


March 6, 2013

Thimble's mock-up of a potential TENS patch

Thimble's mock-up of a potential TENS patch

Imagine if you could treat pain the same way you treat a cut: throw a bandage on it and let it heal. Thimble Bioelectronics is working on a patch based on Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) that's designed to provide this type of portable pain relief.

TENS is a type of treatment that uses low voltage electrical stimulation to alleviate certain types of pain. The treatment is typically performed via a small machine, but Thimble Bioelectronics is busy designing a wearable application of the technology designed to adhere to the problem area and provide TENS treatment for the pain. Details of the exact form the TENS patch will take haven't yet been revealed, but the company says it will include integrated Bluetooth connectivity that works with an accompanying smartphone app for pain tracking and management.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Thimble Bioelelectrics CEO and primary founder Shaun Rahimi began work on the device when dealing with his own chronic back and arm pain. Tired of trying unsuccessfully to treat his pain with available methods that were costly, difficult or riddled with side effects, Rahimi, a medical device designer, decided to work on an alternative.

Thimble estimates that there are 1.5 billion people living with chronic pain around the world. While there are a host of other pain management products available, Thimble hopes its patch will be easier to use, without side effects and more affordable than existing alternatives.

The Thimble patch sounds quite convenient, but there is some controversy as to the efficacy of TENS, and research results have varied. The technology is also already available through other small and wearable devices, such as belts and handhelds. Alternatives like transcutaneous direct current stimulation (tDCS) also exist.

Thimble was founded last year and is working to get its patch ready for release later this year. It is currently looking for developers with iOS experience to help build its mobile app. The design was a finalist in the recent Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup.

Source: Thimble Bioelectronics

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

TENS units are useless. I have had them over the years. Now a tiny one sure won't do much good.

Looks like another gambit to cash in on medicare. I hope they don't go for it.


This sounds interesting. I know a few people who have tried tens devices for pain and really liked the treatment, but didnt like dealing with the fact that it has wires and isn't easily portable. The pain tracking device also seems really useful..a lot of people have trouble managing their pain because they have no way of monitoring what lifestyle choices improve or worsen their symptoms. This patch might be using existent technology, but it's improving it, which will probably help a lot of people.

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