PACT: massage gun which measures the state of your muscles to start shipping

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Massage guns are a dime a dozen these days. Many of us use them as an aid for muscle recovery after exercise. They can be particularly useful after intense workouts such as a long run. But the problem with such devices is that they provide little feedback as to what is an effective treatment and what isn’t. PACT attempts to fill this gap. This is a massage gun that goes beyond a simple a massage gun by measuring your muscle condition and suggesting an appropriate recovery treatment.

I’m a keen runner who is guilty of not doing enough stretching before and after exercise. At best I might do a quick stretch lasting 30 seconds to a minute. The muscles stiffness would build up over the months until they become rock hard.

My discovery a few years ago of massage guns was a life saver. Still not as good as a physiotherapist, a few minutes a day does wonders in keeping my muscles relaxed. But I always had the feeling massage guns such as Theragun and their cheap knockoffs were missing a trick.

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Theragun provides an app that teaches you how to do proper massage. Most other brands don’t even do that. But there’s nothing as far as measuring the state of your muscles. In a sense, you are always operating blind hoping you have massaged your muscles enough for the treatment to be effective. This is why PACT piqued my interest.

PACT massage gun provides feedback on the state of your muscles

The device was designed by Impact Biosystems, a startup comprised of a bunch of MIT engineers. They recognized the need for a massage gun that does more. Their campaign to make PACT a reality was launched in early November on Indiegogo.

Manufacturing has hit some delays but shipping to early backers will start before the end of May. The company says it will take until August to ship all units to backers, so somewhat behind the early July schedule. You can still order on Indiegogo, although we expect wider retail availability soon.

The difference between this percussive massage system and all the other ones on the market is that you get feedback on your condition. Think of it as a data-backed recovery experience. Here’s how this two-in-one gadget works.

First you are meant to utilize PACT Sense to read the real-time conditions of your muscles. The thing has six sensors inside (2 position sensors, accelerometer, IMU, current sensor, force sensor) that take 5,000 measurements with each scan. It takes just 5 seconds to perform a muscle measurement.

The data is communicated to the accompanying smartphone app via Bluetooth. This then sifts through the info and spits out a recovery routine customised to the current condition of your body.

You’ll also get something called a Muscle Readiness Index which lets you know at a glance how ready you are to perform. The higher the score the better. For example, if you see your muscles are nice and relaxed, perhaps it might be time to try and beat your personal best for a particular run. If you are at the other end of the scale, maybe you should take a rest day or go for an easy run.

It’s like your own personal training and recovery coach on-the-go. Plus you are able to follow trends in the smartphone app on the performance condition of your muscles. Something that spits out these kinds of figures effectively can go a long way to help preventing injury.

What’s interesting is how this works. The PACT scanning system does all this by applying a force pattern to a muscle and measuring how it reacts (muscle stiffness, mass, dumping). This is similar to what you would do to determine if a muscle is sore – press it with your finger and feel the resistance and tightness.

PACT Sense uses a tiny built-in mallet to tap your muscles, and measures their response. Which means you get an exact, scientific reading of the mechanical properties of your muscles. It is the first device that collects data in such a unique way.

It also massages you

The next step is to use the PACT Pulse to put the treatment into practice. There’s a routine in the app that you can follow. Use the device to deeply massage your sore muscles, beyond the surface. The massage parameters inside Pulse will automatically adapt to the condition and specific profile of your muscles if you choose the Auto-drive mode. Or choose the manual mode for full control. There are 7 different attachment heads you can attach, along with customizable speed settings.

Both the PACT Sense and Pluse are designed to be portable. In fact they are no bigger than the typical massage gun that you can purchase today. Battery life is also pretty decent. You can do around 150 scans between charges, while PACT Pulse is good four about 6 hours of massage time.

The product is a bit more expensive than its premium competitors. You can pick it up for $449, which is down on the $649 it will eventually sell for.

Price:$449 and up

Funding open:
$116,500 out of $50,000 goal

Estimated delivery: by August 2022

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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