Technophile

Belt up to take away the day’s fatigue

Mala Bhargava | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on April 12, 2017

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This connected but expensive wearable can go anywhere with you to relax your sore back

Everyone knows what a sore back feels like. You can get it from sitting too long at a desk hunched over a computer. You can get it from an energetic round of exercise. You can get it from too much housework. And you can even get it from being in bed too long. A startup called SandPuppy has come up with a wireless but connected belt to help with that. “We’ve got your back” is their witty promise and they aim to deliver it through their FitBelt, which connects to your smartphone and then gives your back some heat and vibration.

Strap it on

The Fitbelt is a belt that broadens towards the middle and fits around your waist to fasten up with Velcro. I got a cherry red version to try out and there are a few other colours, making it look quite fashionable, really. But unlike other belts, on the front, is a logo and button, which you press to power on and pair with the phone. I found this button a little hard, requiring a longer than usual hard-press before it responds, but it does eventually work. At other times it decides to turn on with a simple press.

Pairing with the phone is quite instant through a long press and presented no problem. You need to download the SandzPuppy app on either the App Store or Google Play because this is where you control the belt.

The app is the remote

The SandPuppyapp is a little barebones and unpolished and could really do with a facelift, but again, it works. It has two big control buttons — one for heat and the other for vibration. Press the heat button and under it you’ll find a percentage slider, which will let you change the heat level. Same for vibration intensity. The app really should have had pairing, charging and usage instructions as well as a lot of other information. For instance, it could log sessions with timings. It could also have done with guidance on when to use the belt and what to be careful about. It does, however, have smart features like turning itself off after 20 minutes and on again for an hour. It can also shut off altogether after an hour so you can wear it while falling asleep and not worry about it staying on all night.

Unfortunately, the FitBelt doesn’t yet take full advantage of being a connected product. The app seems to be nothing more than the remote control for the belt. You can see that the app is loading some information about the user on starting up, but the user doesn’t see that information, which apparently has to do with session stats. Features are apparently still in the making.

Use it anywhere

Tucked into a fold in the belt is a jack into which you connect the charger provided. You may find yourself looking for it in some bafflement, but it’s there if you look enough. It takes about two hours to charge. What’s really nice about it is that once you remove that charger, it’s wireless, so you can wear it anywhere for a relaxing session of heat and vibration. The SandPuppy team is clear that the FitBelt isn’t for serious back problems and intense pain but that everyday fatigue and soreness that comes from weakened backs. It’s like a hot bath after a day’s work or a hot water bottle when there’s mild pain. Except that it’s wireless, safe and can be used just about anywhere including in one’s car or at the office after some hours of work. The heat is soothing and the vibration keeps the circulation going.

The FitBelt is a very new product and still evolving as it acquires its first wave of users and gets reactions from them on how they like it and want to use it. SandPuppy has plenty of plans for the app, which they will add features to in future. If it’s important to you to carry it around and use wirelessly in places you wouldn’t otherwise you can find it on Amazon.

Published on April 12, 2017
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