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FIGUR8, or how to improve musculoskeletal health with movement technology


Sedentary lifestyle, office work, and the new lifestyle trends of the modern world are some of the causes that have helped to grow back pain over the past years in the world population. For example, according to data from the World Health Organization, 80% of the world’s population suffers at some point in their lives pain in the lower part of their back.  

Nan-Wei Gong is one of those people. I suffered from back pain and I tried everything: physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga. I was frustrated with my specialist and that’s when I realized it wasn’t their fault, but the fault of the tools that are available to them,” she explained. In addition, she was always fascinated by how technology can impact the world “and improve the lives of others.” That’s how in 2016 she thought, “I’m an engineer; I can build something better,” and founded FIGUR8 

This startup, based in Boston, created a technological platform that standardized the evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) to “help medical clinics to better understand and treat injuries,” explains Gong. They do this using hardware, software, and biomechanical artificial intelligence to measure and analyze the data obtained from the person’s movement. 

“Once we identify the body area that we want to evaluate, we apply the FIGUR8 sensors in that area. The sensors, that we’ve designed ourselves, create a network that allows the system to interpret the angles of the joint and the range of movement, as well as the muscular production,” details Gong.  

The FIGUR8 application indicates that type of activities the patient should do in order to map the movements of the body with the greatest precision. Afterwards, the platform interprets that data and provides “an advanced biomechanical analysis that helps to guide the decision of the clinics, identify injuries, and evaluate the rehabilitation.”  

One of the benefits is that, after a simple training, anyone can use it. “It’s like taking your blood pressure, so it can be used by the patients themselves,” indicates Gong.  

But not only can it be useful for the medical community and the individuals, it can also be so for insurers. Currently, the evaluation of injuries depends largely on the opinion of a doctor. With our test, which takes from 5 to 10 minutes, we can determine with precision the specific endpoint of the efficiency of treatment and determines the injury level with highly precise movement data,” explains the founder and CEO. That way FIGUR8 can help their clients to recover quicker, and insurance companies to be more agile, precise, and reliable, especially in the case of car insurance.  

That’s why they’re participating in the acceleration program by insur_space by MAPFRE: “The adoption of a new technology by users is always a challenge. That’s why a strong and committed partner like MAPFRE is extremely valuable for our business.” 

Currently, they have a conglomeration of more than 20,000 data points from the United States and Japan, and now their objective is to work hand in hand with MAPFE in order to “integrate their product in the company’s existing processes,” and demonstrate the importance that MSD data can have for the health of people.