Sports

PowerDot muscle stimulator hits the spot

The wearable device can be easily used anywhere, before and after exercise

Muscle stimulators are proven enhancers of sports performance but they are usually administered under the watchful eye of a trained medical professional.

With PowerDot, however, anyone - athlete or not - can use a muscle stimulator anywhere, and at anytime.

Developed by Singapore firm Smartmissimo Technologies, PowerDot is said to be the world's first wearable connected muscle stimulator.

The pebble-shaped device uses electrical muscle stimulation to mimic the brain's transmission of nerve impulses to engage your muscles before or after a workout. It sends the impulses to your muscles via a pair of "sticky" electrode pads.

PowerDot has built-in Bluetooth and is controlled by a companion app (Android or iOS) on your smartphone. So, you can just tap on your smartphone to add that jolt to aid in muscle recovery. Upon launching the PowerDot app, you will be greeted by numerous messages.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $239

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 40g

  • RATING

    FEATURES 1 2 3 4 5

    DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5

    PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE FOR MONEY 1 2 3 4 5

    OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5

These will ask you to confirm you are not pregnant, not wearing a pacemaker, not experiencing persistent pain, and that you will not apply the pads to certain parts of the body, such as your chest and genitals.

The electrode pads are not meant to be applied at random but only on the 14 muscle groups - including calves, quads, triceps and lower back. The app will show you how to apply the pads properly to these muscles.

The app currently offers 11 stimulation sessions to choose from - ranging from anti-stress massage to endurance. Some stimulation sessions, such as strength, can be applied only to specific muscle groups while others, such as recovery, can be used on all muscle groups.

Each session can last from four minutes for preparing muscles to maximum power, to 47 minutes for endurance.

So, it can take quite a while to finish a complete session involving all the arm muscles, such as biceps, triceps and forearms.

During each session, you can control the intensity of stimulation via the app. For desk jockeys, the 10-minute anti-stress massage probably works the best. It can relieve lower back and wrist pain.

The package comes with four sets of electrode pads, and Smartmissimo recommends that these pads be replaced after 25 to 30 sessions. You can get replacement electrode pads at US$39 (S$52) for eight sets.

The PowerDot had a knack of losing Bluetooth connection with my smartphone, so I had to keep unpairing and re-pairing it a few times.

The PowerDot is an innovative product that allows workout buffs to take along a muscle stimulator anywhere they go, save for some quirks. You just need more than one set.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'PowerDot muscle stimulator hits the spot'. Print Edition | Subscribe