Israeli innovation uses physical therapy to bring out the gamer in you
Whether it be sports injuries, accidents, or illness, physical therapy plays a crucial, although pretty boring, role in the recovery process. That’s why this Israeli startup wants to spice up your training sessions, turning the mundane into a recovery game.
The Gamification of recovery
Israeli startup bobo develops technology-based physical therapy tools. The company has already developed a few motion sensor-based products, including an interactive mat for improving stability and balance, bike pedals with visual feedback, and wearable gear that tracks your movements. All these connect to an app that the Israeli company had also developed.
The company’s goal is the gamification of physical recovery, providing a “fun” solution for one of the industry’s most problematic issues - motivating patients to actually do the required exercises.
bobo notes that they had developed the interactive tools with training in font of the screen in mind, allowing the patient to actually see movement data from his or her training routine. The startup has a patent on a joystick that easily connects to tablets, also focusing on different aspects of the physical therapy process. The joystick transfers data via Bluetooth based on the user’s movement during a selected game of choice.
The company founders tell that the idea was born from their work experience in physical therapy, especially with younger patients who would pull out their phones to play games during rehabilitation. “One patient would stand on a BOSU ball and start playing a snowboarding game, that relies on phone movement for play. So, we took his phone and stuck it on the BOSU ball and told him to keep practicing. Now, the training and gaming are intertwined, as every movement on the BOSU ball effects the game outcome. That’s how this whole thing started.”
According to bobo, the company’s products are used in almost every hospital or medical center in Israel while also being marketed around the world. The company additionally provides physical therapy patients with game versions that can be played at home as well. The company further notes, that most of the main competitors market products at prices that are in the $20,000 to $40,000 range, while bobos’s products can be purchased for anywhere between the reasonably priced $250 to $2,000 range. The company also states that it is in the black, from selling its products to the health sector.
bobo was founded in 2015 by co-CEOs Eitan Merhavy and Gadi Nir. The company has a team of 6 employees working out of offices in Israel. So far the startup has raised $1 million and is currently trying to secure another funding round that will help advance the development of remote care features, which become super important and relevant during the COVID-19 restrictions. bobo founders explain that the company’s current product under development will enable physical therapists to prescribe patients training “prescriptions” for working out at home, accompanied by one or more of bobo’s products. This allows the patient to train independently at home while still being monitored remotely by the caregiver.
By incorporating both the company’s app and training tools, accurate training data like range of motion, endurance, stability, and training responsiveness are then transferred directly to the caregiver, who can monitor and adjust the training regiment.
The company further expects that the remote training function will open up additional revenue streams other than the health sector, but rather also from monthly patient subscriptions. This may give bobo a head start in the Gamification of physical therapy game, as another Israeli startup, XRHealth, is attempting to provide a similar solution using the powers of VR.