San Francisco startup Cur has set out to improve the daily lives of chronic pain sufferers.
Shaun Rahimi could well become the chronic muscle pain sufferers’ hero. Through his startup Cur, the young entrepreneur is about to launch a small smart device designed to alleviate this type of suffering on a long-term basis. The device, which is not much bigger than a bracelet, sends an electrical charge to the nerves, stimulating the creation of endorphins, which are natural analgesics. The system works on the basis of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) technology, which medical practitioners have already been using for this purpose for over ten years. However, the traditional devices used are fairly cumbersome – about the size of an old Walkman – and tricky to use. A traditional TENS machine requires a qualified practitioner to adjust the electrical charge during the session, as it needs to be strong enough to inhibit the pain but must remain at a reasonable level to avoid harming the patient. As a result, TENS treatment has hitherto required a level of resources that makes it quite expensive. The device developed by Cur has several advantages: it is small, low-cost and can be used entirely autonomously. The system automatically detects how the patient’s muscles react to the electrical nerve stimulations and adapts the strength of the electrical charge accordingly.
Reducing medecine dependency
‟Cur makes this therapy accessible outside your doctor’s office for the first time,” claims Shaun Rahimi, Cur co-founder and CEO.
The idea for the Cur device stems from the back pain from which the entrepreneur suffered for several years before discovering TENS technology, which enabled him to treat his own condition effectively and get back to an active life. ‟My co-founder and I have created a simple, affordable, portable version of this technology,” he explains. ‟We’re hoping to improve the quality of life of the 1.5 billion people worldwide who suffer from chronic pain. We believe that Cur can help them reduce their dependence on medicine and live a pain-free existence.” A crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to finance final development and launch. Cur has teamed up with Californian design studios Huge Design and Whipsaw to make the product attractive and aesthetically pleasing.
Chronic pain affects 1.5 billion people worldwide
Waiting for FDA approval
However Cur still has an important hurdle to surmount before it can sell its product on the market: it requires prior clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration. A number of voices have in fact recently questioned the legality of running a crowdfunding campaign before obtaining the FDA’s blessing. The company is already offering packages (control device plus carrying case/charger and adhesive pads) for sale, which – even though this is currently on a pre-order basis – has triggered some debate. Shaun Rahimi is nevertheless confident. ‟We’re 100% certain we can meet the FDA guidelines,” he underlines, explaining: ‟Our crowdfunding campaign is intended to finance development and the 510(k) Premarket Notification submission. It will stay that way, and we’re updating our website to clarify that the first investors to pledge will only receive their Cur package after we’ve obtained FDA 510(k) certification. The fact that other devices with similar attributes have received this certification makes us totally confident that we’ll get certification”.