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Innovative wearable answer to back pain

Blog: Health

4/15/2015
— Olivia Al-Adwani 

80% of the population suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, but when explaining how the pain materialised, the answers are varied and lacking in diagnostic hints. Andrew Ronchi, a former practicing physiotherapist for the Australian Football League (AFL), found this incredibly frustrating and so embarked on a journey to create a world-first wearable sensor technology in order to reach simple answers. The journey however, was not quite so simple…

This month’s issue of Qantas’ Australian Way Inflight Magazine reveals that, as a frustrated physiotherapist, Andrew was eager to find a solution for the widespread problem that is back pain. By enticing the help of his technologically savvy brother Dan, the pair committed themselves to developing a technology that would deliver accurate measurement of body movement. After Andrew worked tirelessly to complete a PhD in computer and systems engineering, and the pair reached the breakthrough finding that inertial sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes from helicopter navigation and missile-guidance systems were the answer, the brothers spent six years developing prototypes.

Now, some 15 years on, what have these entrepreneurial innovators achieved? Andrew and Dan launched dorsaVi Ltd; the company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and currently has offices in Australia, the UK and USA. dorsaVi offers 3 variations of wearable sensor technology systems, which all accurately capture, quantify and assess human movement in real-time and in real situations. Their three systems are called ViMove, ViSafe and ViPerform, which have clinical, occupation health and safety and elite sport applications respectively. dorsaVi is a company that is on a mission to change peoples’ lives across the globe, whether they are athletes, employers or chronic pain sufferers. “Measuring people’s movement is interesting, but to change their health outcomes with something that’s not a drug or a dangerous intervention is exciting […..] If you are helping people you will always win”, said Andrew in his interview with Qantas.

The Ronchi brothers now have their sights set on breaking into more markets and giving more people access to these revolutionary systems in more locations. With the soon-to-be published clinical research further proving dorsaVi’s systems are generating long-term improvements for people, and the ever growing incidence of back pain globally, the importance of Andrew and Dan making this remarkable solution widely accessible is more critical than ever.

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