Pacla Medical Limited, an Edinburgh-based leader in back care technology trading under the “BackHug” brand, is proud to announce another technological breakthrough in the use of robotics and AI to help people stay healthy.

BackHug, an App-operated robotic back care device that uses 28 robotic fingers to remove users’ back aches and pains, has been released to selective customers since the start of the year.

Now, with the easing of the countrywide lockdown, Pacla has created a new version of BackHug for people looking to get more active while staying socially distanced. The new BackHug 2Go has been designed to travel with its owner at a brisk jogging pace so that it can offer back care “on the go” to runners of all ages. Standing vertically at approximately 5 ft 8 inches tall, BackHug 2Go uses the innovative fully-retracting Bowden cable motorised wheel system developed by Pacla to propel the 60kg device at speed over virtually any terrain without losing its balance.

“I trained as a physiotherapist and I’m also a runner” says Chongsu Lee, the inventor of BackHug, who has completed six 10k marathons as part of his drive to stay fit during lockdown.

“What people who run don’t often realise, is that the problems they get in their knees, hips and legs when they run are usually caused by the stiffness in their lower back. My dream has always been to create technology that could fix that problem.”

In future, when you go for a run, you won’t need to leave your BackHug behind any more. BackHug 2Go will be able to keep up with you, according to Pacla. Whenever you need back care, you can simply tap the “Horizontal Setting” button for the BackHug to flip to the horizontal position, where you can lie down and get treatment, whether you’re on the slope of a hill or in the middle of a field.

Recently developed software enables the BackHug App to offer users an in-App consultation to determine their back care needs. This software has been further developed, using AI, to enable BackHug 2Go to provide runners with encouragement, tips and breathing exercises while they run. Future iterations of the AI component of the software will allow BackHug to offer conversation to lonely runners, using the algorithm to sense when the runner wants to talk.

According to Finlay Simpson, BackHug engineer and rugby player:

“The biggest challenge was developing two legs and a wheel system that can support the 60kg of body weight while emulating fluent movements at speed”

“It took the whole team of mechanical, electronic and software engineers over a year to develop the concept, with 1,421 product iterations. The Covid-19 situation may have kept many people at home, limiting their outdoor activity, but it didn’t limit our innovation and creativity.”

Chongsu Lee added:

“Our team wanted to do something different, meaningful to help people when things finally open up. Now, I’m so pleased to see our hard work being handsomely paid off as we look forward to many BackHugs rolling alongside their owners across the country.”

The product is at beta development stage and the company expects it to be available from Q3 2022. Prospective customers curious about the technology can download the related App from Google or Apple stores.