American healthcare company NeuroMetrix has invented the first pain relief wearable. Called Quell, it consists of a strap worn around the ankle, with an electrode in the back that’s in direct contact with the skin. When you experience pain, you activate the device, which stimulates nerves in your leg, sending a message to the brain to release endogenous opioids – the body’s natural pain killers – which can bring relief within 15 minutes.
It works similarly to a TENS machine, which many patients find helpful for chronic pain, but with the advantage that you don’t have to leave it at home. The first time you use it, you adjust it to the right stimulation level, and Quell then automatically selects this each time. It doesn’t have to be used with a smartphone, but you can track your usage and how it affects the quality of your sleep using a complementary app (just iOS to start, but Android’s on the way).
Quell’s doctor-recommended and has been approved by the FDA. NeuroMetrix just needs a little more cash to bring the pain relief wearable to market, so is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, with a target of $100,000. Proving that there’s definitely a call for this new wearable, it’s already raised $167,482 (at the time of writing) with 29 days still to go.
It’ll normally cost $250 (£163), but there’s currently a special offer where you can pre-order a Quell for $199. The downside is that at the moment, it’s only available for shipping to the U.S and Canada. That makes sense given that, unlike other wearables, it’ll need to be approved by the medical regulatory authority of each country it’s sold in. But given that millions of people worldwide experience chronic pain (including an estimated 7.8 million in the UK), it seems likely that Quell could become a global brand in the future.