LAS VEGAS - Relatively few people ever said that recovering from a back injury would be fun, but until now, relatively few people have encountered Valedo. This Swiss wearable is a mix of a fitness tracker, a medical apparatus and a video game, and it's one of the more creative ways out there to keep your spine in shape.
I encountered Valedo at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, and noticed immediately how much care the company took with the video game aspect of its product. While it's easy to make a fitness app and call it a "game" simply by having a few goals to accomplish, Valedo went all-out with an iOS app featuring animated graphics, discrete levels and a winnable campaign.
The Valedo device consists of three separate pieces: One tracker on the breastbone to measure upper body motion, and two on the lower back to track pelvic movements. While the user starts off working the upper and lower back separately, later workouts incorporate both exercises. Furthermore, each user calibrates the program to his or her own level of fitness at the beginning, ensuring that the regimen is both challenging and constructive.
Although the Valedo started life as a medical tool, it now skirts the line between a consumer gadget and a physical therapy tool. While anyone can purchase a Valedo and benefit from the back-intensive workouts, it's still primarily helpful to people who have injured their backs and want to return to peak flexibility.
The Valedo is shipping now and retails for $359 via the company website. While the app is free, it won't do much good without the associated wearable.