Introducing A Revolution In Pelvic Floor Health...
Pelvic floor muscles are a critical part of a healthy body and can affect health and happiness in many ways. However, tools to help women exercise and manage them are extremely lacking. kGoal is a revolutionary new smart Kegel trainer: it is a device + app that provides a fun, interactive platform to guide, measure and track your pelvic floor exercise. It's like having a personalized gym and tracking system in the palm of your hand!
Thanks for the support, everyone! You can find more information about kGoal and pre-order at www.minnalife.com after the Kickstarter campaign ends.
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Why Are Pelvic Floor Muscles Important?
Strong pelvic floor muscles are a vital part of a healthy body. In particular, they are crucial in the following contexts:
- Pregnancy: they are critically important during and after pregnancy, both in helping the body manage changes arising from the pregnancy and also in recovering more readily after birth.
- Bladder control: they control the bladder and can prevent incontinence caused by stress, post-partum effects, aging, or other factors. Over 76% of women experience incontinence issues at some point in their life - strong pelvic floor muscles can prevent or resolve many of these problems without the complications of surgery.
- Musculoskeletal stability: they support abdominal organs and provide stability for the entire pelvic region and lower spine; when weak or unstable they can cause back and pelvic pain.
- Pleasure: they are an important part of a healthy sexual response for women. Strong pelvic floor muscles can enhance arousal and improve sensation, orgasm quality, and general sexual experience.
However, despite the importance of pelvic floor muscles, tools to help exercise and manage them are extremely lacking. That’s where kGoal comes in...
What Is kGoal?
The first tools for evaluating pelvic floor muscle strength were invented in the late 1940s using an air pressure balloon and a tire gauge. Sadly, the technology used has not progressed much since. However, the landscape is changing quickly. Personal health tracking tools like Fitbit or Jawbone UP have exploded in popularity by putting knowledge about the body directly into users' hands. Likewise, improving technology has now made it possible to create a much better pelvic floor muscle exercise system.
kGoal is a smart Kegel trainer and functions as both an exercise tool and a performance monitoring and guidance system. It measures the force exerted by squeezing your pelvic floor muscles and can communicate that information back to you via a phone and/or the device itself. Using the device and corresponding app is like having a personalized gym and tracking system by your side whenever you want.
What Makes kGoal Unique?
kGoal has a number of revolutionary features that make it a groundbreaking advance in pelvic floor health. In particular, kGoal gives you the ability to:
- Get real time biofeedback: pelvic floor muscles are often controlled subconsciously, and studies have shown that over 30% of women are not able to correctly contract their pelvic floor muscles without direct feedback (instead, they will often flex their abs, glutes, or inner thighs). kGoal's ability to provide real time feedback via touch, sight and sound can help you make sure you're doing the exercises correctly.
- Guide your workout: our team of expert physical therapists and doctors has helped us develop algorithms to suggest exercise plans that are tailored to you and based on your current capabilities.
- Track your performance: kGoal can measure and keep track of everything from muscle strength to endurance to which exercises you did and when you did them. Being able to look at how your body changes over time can help you (and your doctor or therapist) better understand your body and optimize your health.
- Be comfortable: since kGoal's squeezable pillow is squishy and has a vent to adjust the air pressure, you can tailor the fit to your body's unique anatomy, even as it changes over time.
- Make exercise fun: let's face it... exercise can be boring. A smart device can make it way more interesting, and we're even working on games and other interactions to make pelvic floor exercise more engaging. We know that motivation can be a huge challenge with exercise, and it was vital for us to create an experience that doesn't feel like a chore.
How Does kGoal Work?
Using kGoal is really simple. There are two halves of the system:
- kGoal device
- kGoal app
The main section of kGoal is a squeezable pillow that is inserted into the vagina. Since it's squishy, it conforms to a wide variety of anatomies, and you can use the vent to let air in or out and further optimize the fit. Once in place, the pillow can measure squeezing of your pelvic floor muscles, and there is also a motor for providing real time vibrational biofeedback.
The arm stays outside the body and holds kGoal in place. It is also the basic interface, with the button, status light, and charging plug. In addition, it has a second vibrational feedback motor that can be used together with or instead of the motor in the pillow.
The other key element of the system is the app. It communicates with and can control kGoal wirelessly and it's also where you can find your exercise history and suggested workouts. However, if you don't have your phone handy, don't worry - many of kGoal's features are available without having the app connected.
Finally, kGoal comes with a travel-friendly USB charger and is splash resistant for easy cleaning. And, most importantly, it is totally body-safe - it's made with Class VI medical grade silicone that is 100% phthalate free.
We've been getting great feedback from our test users. Here are a few snapshots:
It's like Fitbit for your pelvic floor muscles.... awesome. - M.V.
I love being able to keep track of how I'm doing - seeing improvement is really motivating. - R.S.
It's amazing, I can actually feel how hard I'm squeezing, which makes such a difference. -A.J.
We've also been working with a leading pelvic floor physical therapist in San Francisco on kGoal. Liz Miracle runs her own pelvic floor physical therapy practice and is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Physical Therapy. Here's what she has to say:
"kGoal is an innovative product that will be instrumental in pelvic floor strengthening for women. It’s the first product that can provide tactile feedback, through vibration, of a woman’s ability to perform a correct pelvic floor contraction. I've found women are more likely to adhere to an exercise program when given a realistic, interesting exercise routine using biofeedback. kGoal is motivational, helping women achieve goals by providing real time biofeedback and the ability to track progress over time. Not only that, but we finally have a product meant to fit women of different sizes. kGoal is truly breaking down barriers to pelvic floor strengthening, helping women feel empowered."
Who We Are
kGoal was developed by Minna Life, a startup in San Francisco that includes a group of designers, engineers, and health experts who share a sense of frustration with the lack of well-designed, high quality sexual health products available.
Our design philosophy is simple: technology should make the world less complicated. We believe that great products are so intuitive, so fluid in the way they improve the human experience, that you hardly know they're there. We have worked extremely hard to make using kGoal as simple and natural as possible.
Our team has a deep level of experience in product development and manufacturing, and has successfully developed and launched two previous products on budget and on time, including our second product via crowd funding campaign last year. We are well aware of the many pitfalls that can derail the launch of hardware products and, based on our previous experience, we are confident that we will be able to deliver kGoal on time.
There are two main reasons for us to use Kickstarter:
- User feedback: we believe passionately in user-centric design, and Kickstarter gives us a tremendous platform to interact with users. Particularly on the app side, we expect to be continually developing and refining the interactions that make using kGoal so much fun, and the input we get from our supporters on Kickstarter will be invaluable. We love hearing from you, either via Kickstarter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Help us cover manufacturing costs: making hardware is expensive! Although kGoal is not our first product, we are still a shoestring operation, and there are a number of up-front manufacturing capital expenditure costs that we need help with to bring kGoal to the world. These costs include tooling such as molds and assembly equipment, raw materials, and parts. Hitting our goal will enable us to pay for the first batch of products, but without a successful campaign, we cannot afford to make kGoal a reality.
How Can You Help?
We strongly believe we have created a revolutionary product in kGoal, and we think it can be a valuable part of maintaining healthy pelvic floor muscles (and enabling all the benefits that come with them). Supporting our campaign is your way to be a part of making kGoal come to life, and also your way to get one of the first ever units made (and at a fantastic discount, no less)!
The other crucial thing you can do to help is to get the word out and build the conversation. We know that this part of the body, and some of the health issues associated with it, can be delicate topics. However, never discussing them only prevents everyone from understanding and improving their bodies, health, and well-being. We hope you'll help us work to change that by promoting dialog about what is, after all, a vital and natural part of the body. Anything, from sharing our campaign via social media to sharing via conversations in your daily life, will be hugely beneficial, both to our campaign and also towards building a healthier, happier world.
kGoal is scheduled to begin the manufacturing ramp-up process in August, immediately following the completion of the campaign. We expect to ship the first units by December and will fulfill backer rewards with the first available products, in chronological order of when supporters made their commitment.
Color: you may have noticed from the video and images that we have prototypes in a variety of colors. We have not made a final decision on product color - our plan is to put it to a vote by our campaign backers as we get closer to finalizing manufacturing.
Smart phone support: another important note relates to which smart phones will be compatible with kGoal. As you can see in the video, the initial app was built for iOS devices, but we will also implement an Android version of the app before we start shipping in December.
For wireless compatibility, the phone or other smart device will need to have Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as Bluetooth 4.0) capability. For Apple devices, this is the iPhone 4S or newer or the iPad3 or newer. Please ask us if you're unsure about compatibility with your device.
International Taxes and Shipping
While our rewards include free delivery within the US, we do require international backers to pay a $25 fee to cover shipping. In addition, international backers will be responsible for taxes, duties, and customs fees as appropriate for their country, although we will do our best to assist backers with sorting out any issues.
Risks and challenges
As with any hardware product, there is the potential for unforeseen manufacturing delays or problems to crop up. However, we see this as a low risk for several reasons. First of all, our experienced team has been through this process several times before, including the on-time and on-budget launch of our last product via a crowd funding campaign last year. And second of all, because this is not our first product, we will be able to use much of our existing supply chain and manufacturing infrastructure, and will not be developing everything from scratch.
Finally, our design is at an advanced stage, and we have been very happy with the user testing feedback from the current prototypes. We have a very short list of remaining changes and improvements and are confident that none of the issues on our list will present large hurdles.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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