Hocoma’s innovative back pain therapy system powered by Movea’s MotionPods

10th May 2011
ES Admin
Hocoma, the leader in rehabilitation therapy solutions for movement disorders, has selected Movea’s MotionPod™ for its recently launched ValedoMotion, a low back pain treatment product. The MotionPod, a wireless, miniaturised, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), enables a new breed of rehabilitation applications featuring a form of Functional Movement Therapy (FMT) that is both fun and interactive. Research shows that many back problems can be improved by FMT, but patient compliance has typically been a problem. Hocoma’s Valedo™Motion solves this problem by making low back training entertaining and motivational.
Two of Movea’s MotionPods are placed on the patient’s back with adhesive pads while a third IMU acts as a reference. Using Movea’s SmartMotion™ technology, the IMUs wirelessly provide extremely accurate motion information to the ValedoMotion software running on a laptop. This data is used to guide the patient through the exercises that have been specially designed for low back pain treatment and does so by using a motivating, game-like environment where the patient controls what is happening on the screen with his or her movements.

Dr Hannu Luomajoki, Head of Continuing Education at the Institute of Physiotherapy, Zurich University, said, “Lack of compliance is a big problem in low back pain therapy. Our first clinical experiences showed that the therapy with Valedo Motion is fun and motivating. With the exercises, the patient easily forgets the time, which leads to a higher number of repetitions and an improved compliance.”

Dr Gery Colombo, CEO of Hocoma, explained, “The motions in the spine that we assess are of very small amplitude and, in order to be useful for the exercises, they have to be done very accurately. Movea’s MotionPods provide us with a perfect solution for Valedo as they are a complete, off the shelf solution including the sensors, receiver and tools to collect all the data we need, leaving us free to focus on our area of expertise of devising targeted exercises. This enabled us get our product to market very quickly, confident in the knowledge that we were using fully tested hardware.”

Sam Guilaumé, CEO of Movea, added, “We created the MotionPod precisely for applications such as Hocoma’s Valedo. It leverages all our experience of collecting and analysing motion data from MEMS sensors – based on a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis magnetometer. Application developers do not worry about raw sensor data treatment, we handle the complex task of turning the data into relevant motion information in a format that they can immediately use for their application.”


Movea’s MotionPod is a 9 Degrees-of-Freedom, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that incorporates a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis magnetometer in fully integrated package complete with software and wireless interface. Up to five MotionPods can be fitted to key parts of the body to form a Body Area Network (BAN) that enables detailed full body motion to be captured in real time with dynamic accuracy of one degree. More sensors are possible in the network, if required, by lowering the sampling rate from 200 Hz. These IMUs provide highly accurate movement information that is relayed via a 2.4GHz wireless link to a MotionController™ central receiver unit, which plugs into a computer via a USB port. The MotionPod measures 33x22x15mm (1.3”x0.8”x0.6”) and weighs 14g (0.5 oz). It is designed to clip onto a bracelet or strap for easy attachment to the body.

The MotionPods come with Movea’s SmartMotion Development Kit (SMDK) which provides a Windows-based API allowing application developers, systems integrators and OEMs to rapidly integrate and customize the use of wireless multi-sensors in their applications. It also includes a companion application, the MotionDevTool™ that has an intuitive graphical user interface for real-time visualization and integration.

The ValedoMotion is a medical back training device, which improves the patient’s compliance and motivation by specific real time Augmented Feedback based on trunk movements. It transfers trunk movements from two wireless sensors into a motivating game like environment and guides the patient through exercises specifically designed for low back pain therapy. To facilitate challenging and efficient training, the exercises can be adjusted according to the patient’s specific needs. The ValedoMotion is available together with the ValedoShape, an innovative non-invasive spine assessment device that enables computer assisted analysis and display of the spinal shape and mobility.

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