Electronic Ice and an App for Sore Muscles

A thermoelectric heating and cooling system to be worn on a person's knee looks like a black knee brace with many circular protrusions
Photo-illustration: IEEE Spectrum

Thermoelectric devices have become efficient enough—and battery technology has improved enough—to finally allow electronics to replace the ice pack.

That’s what Alex Aguiar, a founder of RecoverX, told me. He says the company’s portable hot/cold wrap is deisgned for general athletic recovery. But, he says, they are also good enough to replace the post-surgical ice machine. If you’ve never had one in your house, trust me, this would be a really good thing: those machines are expensive, unwieldly, and you go through a ridiculous number of bags of ice, some of which you will accidentally dump on your living room rug.

The thermoelectric wraps, introduced at the Highway1 accelerator’s Demo Day in San Francisco on Wednesday, can be controlled by an app for precise hot and cold temperatures and time cycles. The company is beta testing the system with the San Francisco 49ers (American football), the San Jose Earthquakes (everybody else’s football), the Stanford University Athletic Department, and others. Aguiar expects it will ship in 2018 for US $250 to $300.

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