Even if you haven’t tried acupuncture yet, you can probably relate to the experience of being immobilized on a bed waiting for a therapist to come back into the room. Maybe you are getting a stone massage, and you suddenly need to pee. Or maybe you are icing your shoulder for PT, and need the straps adjusted. Or maybe you are getting acupuncture, and have needles sticking out of various pathways on your body and desperately want to scratch your shin, which you can’t reach! Whatever the scenario that finds you literally “pinned down,” you probably do what most of us do: weigh the pros and cons of crying out for help and then just wait, feeling more and more uncomfortable until the practitioner returns. That could all change if Jorge Mejia and Rachel Hemphill’s new Kickstarter product, Room8, becomes a reality.
Mejia and Hemphill are acupuncture physicians who became friends while attending the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. They went looking for a device they could give patients in treatment to sound an alert when they needed assistance, and were dissatisfied with what they found. “The products were all either too expensive to purchase and maintain, had serious range limitations, and/or were not user friendly,” Mejia explains. “We are big believers in simplicity — and we knew there had to be a better way.”
Their solution — the Room8 — is a wireless, rechargeable, hand-held call button. “Since it is designed to work with mobile devices, the Room8 uses technology that most people are already familiar with,” Mejia said. “When pressed, the button works by sending a wi-fi message to a paired mobile phone, smart watch, tablet, computer or fitness tracker. The recipient receives customized alert — vibration, ring tone, light flash, or email notification. Other products on the market mostly use Bluetooth, which has range limitations and much less flexibility.”
The Room8 device and app. (Image: Room8)
The Room8 is also a stand-alone solution. No larger, complex or expensive system is required. This means that even sole practitioners or caretakers can afford it. There are no subscription and/or monitoring service fees either. “Most alternative products are noisy, indiscreet and antiquated,” Mejia adds. “The Room8 is simple; all that it needs is a button, a mobile device and a wi-fi network.”
Mejia, who runs Family Tree Acupuncture with his wife Maggie in Daytona Beach, FL, recalled countless occasions when he wished he had something like the Room8 to give patients. “One time,” he remembered, “I had a patient that was getting treated in a community setting, where there were other patients being treated at the same time. She had to use the restroom in the middle of her treatment. Not wanting to disturb the other patients while they were resting, and a little embarrassed, she just powered through. She would have been relieved (in all ways) to use the Room8! Most recently, I had a patient in treatment who knew that I was working on developing the Room8 button. I stepped out of the private treatment room to check another patient, and returned in 10 minutes. She immediately told me she wished she’d had the Room8 button because the heat lamp that was warming her feet was too warm. She didn’t want to yell, so she, too, just waited in some discomfort, for me to come back into the room.”
While the Room8 was developed by acupuncturists for acupuncturists — a market of 40,000 – 50,000 practitioners globally — Mejia sees many other potential users, including spas, home healthcare workers, rehabilitation settings, and childcare facilities. To learn more about the Room8, and/or back it on Kickstarter, click here.
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