Now it’s time to take a look at a small but competitive business making a difference for the Korean economy. As in previous weeks, we’ll bring to light one of the Korean firms that shined at The Korea Electronics Show 2017. The company we’re going to introduce today is Smart Medical Device, a developer of special medical appliances. Let’s hear from company president Moon Chan-gon.

Smart Medical Device is a medical equipment manufacturer that was created in 2011. Patients usually get physical therapy at hospitals or Oriental medicine clinics. But young people are reluctant to use personal medical equipment because they find it rather boring. We thought it would be nice if patients use medical appliances without getting bored even when they use them repeatedly. So we decided to add an element of “fun” to our new massage product. One of the modes of the product is called “Music Sync,” in which waves follow the sound beats or rhythms from music. For example, users can get a massage on their back and enjoy listening to music at the same time. That’s why our product is fun to use.

Established by specialists from various areas, including experts in communications and medical equipment as well as medical school professors, the company unveiled Smart Personal TENS Unit in 2013. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation that relieves pain by sending electrical pulses through the skin. This personal low-frequency stimulator is named “Dr. Music”. Basically, the product sends tiny frequency waves to the body in sync with music to stimulate muscle cells. But how can the medical tool and music work together?

Dr. Music is a medical device that uses two processors. One processor analyzes music to extract beats and rhythms from the music users listen to. In sync with them, the other one produces low-frequency waves in real time. These two processors continue to communicate with each other. This is our technology patented in South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Europe and China. The patterns of beats and rhythms keep changing, which means new ones are provided constantly. Accordingly, the waves can be generated infinitely, at least in theory, to produce different stimulating effects.

Existing low-frequency stimulators repeat the same frequency waves. For that reason, users may feel bored when they continue to use the conventional stimulators and may also develop a tolerance to them so they become less effective. To solve this problem, the company introduced the so-called “Music Sync” technology, where waveforms change in line with the rhythm of the music. Simply put, if users play music they want to listen to, the music can be converted into waves, which are delivered to the patch. So, the users feel like their music is giving them a massage. The new low-frequency stimulator using music was awarded a gold medal at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in 2014 and won the Special Award at the Invention and New Product Exposition in Pittsburg in the U.S. in 2015. It also received the good manufacturing practice, or GMP certification, from the Korea Food and Drug Administration.

Many people ask us whether and how such a small product will work properly. I want to say that our medical product received the highest-level accreditations that require numerous tests and include strict regulations. As a result, product reliability improved significantly. People can use this wireless product easily and conveniently while listening to music, getting ready for work, exercising, having a meal, studying, or putting on makeup. They can just put the device on any part of their body, including their shoulders. They can also change their music, that is, change the waveforms, using their smartphones.

It is pretty simple to use the equipment. First, users attach the device shaped like a headphone to any part of their body such as their arms, back, or legs. Then they use their smartphone app to activate the “Music Sync” mode. When they touch the music library, music flows and they feel subtle vibrations or stimulus. Of course, they can adjust the intensity of the stimulus. The app also has “Tapping” mode and “Massaging” mode so the users can ease their muscle pain in a pleasant way while enjoying music. It supports Bluetooth wireless connection to enable the consumers to use it anywhere. Moreover, the product comes with a wonderful design.

Actually, consumers usually hate to expose a medical device they are using. But our product won the Good Design Award in South Korea and the iF Design Award 2017 in Germany as well. What’s more, the product is attached under the clothes, so it is hard to notice. Even if other people see it, the cute device that is connected to a smartphone looks trendy and sophisticated, compared to other medical appliances that appear to be used by sick or elderly people. That’s why users of Dr. Music often show off the product, as if they got something nice and new. Purchase patterns show that a great many people decide to buy the product after seeing their acquaintances use it.

Dr. Music weighs only 54.5 grams and is small enough fit in your hand. The compact design makes it quite portable. This year, it received Germany’s iF Design Award, one of the top three design awards in the world. It is little wonder that the device, which can be used anytime, anywhere in a convenient and enjoyable way, has been well-received by consumers. Now, Dr. Music is ready to advance into overseas markets.

Dr. Music acquired a European medical device certification in October, and we’re ready to export the product on a trial basis. Samples have already been sent to many advanced countries and developing economies, and the product has proved to have feasibility in terms of marketing. Exports of medical equipment officially begin only after certification approval. That’s why we have only sent samples so far. We’ll first export this product to the members of the European Union that have given certification. I guess the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will complete the certification process in February or March next year, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will follow suit. Dr. Music will obtain most of the major global medical device certifications in the first half of next year.

At present, Dr. Music is available in local online markets, home shopping channels and department stores in South Korea. Consumers in Japan, Europe and the U.S. will be able to buy the product next year. The company added the distinctive element of music to a smart medical device that combines medical science and information technology. We’re looking forward to a worldwide sensation to be created by this developer of the innovative low-frequency stimulator utilizing music.