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Future Tech: 

Meet Quell, the pain-killing wearable

Meet Quell. The wearable that wants to kill your pain.

Meet Quell. The wearable that wants to kill your pain.

Sure, the Apple Watch promises to be pretty cool, but can it offer pain relief? Not really, unless your specific pain is being without the latest Apple gear. Enter Quell, a new Indiegogo crowdfunding venture that has significantly passed its fundraising target with 29 days left to go.

It’s the brain-child of American healthcare company NeuroMetrix, and it’s the first ever pain relief wearable. Approved by the FDA, it comes in two parts: a strap warn around the ankle, and an app that configures it. The strap has an electrode that’s in contact with the skin, and when you activate the device it stimulates the nerves in your legs, encouraging the brain to release endogenous opioids, which block the pain signals throughout the body.

The app is required to configure Quell for its first use, but isn’t needed again, though it will also let you track your therapy sessions and the quality of sleep if you keep it. iOS only at the moment, but an Android release is to follow for those with back pain from carrying around some of the less practical phablets for too long.

The battery is good for 40 hours of therapy, and Quell offers pain relief in just 15 minutes. It’s similar – albeit more portable – technology to that found in TENS machines, which the British National Health Service warns won’t work for everyone – and when it does work, won’t always perform the same way. “Clinical experience has shown that TENS works well for some people, but it depends on the individual and the condition. It’s often recommended for people who are unable to tolerate pain-relief medication,” the NHS advises. Another minor downside is that the electrodes need to be replaced, at a cost of $29.99 per month.

Still, if it works for you, it seems like an excellent idea, and demand is clearly there with the wearable attracting an impressive $174,679 of funding with just under a month to go. If you want to back the Quell, you can claim one for $199 – $50 off the expected retail price.

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