Making something of the “failed” SKEA Kickstarter: unSKEA – Android App for SKEA

This is the third of three posts focusing on the SKEA, a Kegel exercise product I backed last year on Kickstarter. This post concerns unSKEA, an Android app I developed for the SKEA.  The other posts in this series are: –

unSKEA is an Android app I developed for the SKEA. It allows you to:-

  1. Pair your SKEA to your mobile phone.
  2. View pressure readings collected from the SKEA in real-time.
  3. Provides an example pelvic floor muscle exercise.
  4. Logs pressure readings from pelvic floor muscle exercises to a text file.

I developed the app to make up for the lack of software provided by Linkcube Studio. Currently the app is relatively basic but I’m looking to develop it further, e.g. games. As I mentioned earlier, I’m still researching what makes for an effective Kegel exercise and under what conditions it is effective. The example exercise I’ve included is based on NICE Clinical Guideline 171 (used by the NHS) which recommends at least 8 muscle contractions 3 times a day for the treatment of urinary incontinence. The example exercise guides you through 8 muscle contractions and logs the pressure data to a text file. Again, there is no recommendation on the makeup of the muscle contraction so I’ve chosen an arbitrary duration (3 seconds).

As this is a low intensity exercise, at least by comparison to other exercise programmes, it’s probably fine for all users and intended uses, e.g. Kegel’s aren’t just for medical applications, obviously, please do remember I am not a medical professional, usage of the app and the example exercise are undertaken at your own risk, so please bear that in mind.

A video demo and user guide for the app can be viewed below.

An APK file for the unSKEA app can be downloaded below. The app supports Android 4.0.3 (API level 15) and up. I’ve tested the app successfully on both the Samsung S3 and S6.  To install the app copy the APK to your Android phone and open it.

Update: I’ve updated the app to include more specific error messages and  improved Bluetooth support for Android 4.2.

Download unSKEA

Please feel free to provide feedback about the app, good or bad, below in the comments or you can contact me directly by e-mail at gilleade(@)gmail.com.

What’s next for unSKEA?

unSKEA, as is, provides all the core services you’d expect from a product of this type. You can view the data on your phone, take part in a guided exercise and record the output.  What I want to work on next is develop some games you can use with the SKEA and hopefully fulfil some of the promise the product sold  everybody on.

In order to do that, I need help from the SKEA community. I need someone to confirm if I’ve interpreted the API correctly and if so, are the issues I’ve identified widespread or localised to my SKEA. If someone can confirm the below, either in the comments or by e-mail at  gilleade (@) gmail.com I would greatly appreciate it.

  1. Can you pair the SKEA successfully and display a pressure reading?
  2. Log files from the example exercise store a special field called checksum1 and checksum2.
    1. Checksum1 should always be 0.
    2. Checksum2 should either by -216 or 40.

I would also be grateful if someone would be willing to send me some sample data so I can get a better sense of typical pressure readings. The more real-world data I have to work with the better. I’d also like to hear about anyone’s experience with the iOS version of the app, e.g how does their game work.  There are features that the SKEA is supposed to have, such as variable level vibration feedback but I’ve not figured out how to access them. At the moment the iOS app is the only way I confirm the features actually exist. I did try sending dummy commands to the SKEA to access these features but all I managed to do was overload the Bluetooth receiver which made the device vibrate uncontrollably.

If all goes well I’ll start work on developing some games for the SKEA later this month and hopefully release another public build later on.  As I’m developing the software in my free time I can’t make any promises about future releases but I would like to release some games in the near future.

if your interested in getting involved in developing unSKEA or want to volunteer to test new builds, please feel free to get in touch.

References

NICE (2013) Urinary incontinence – The management of urinary incontinence in women. NICE clinical guideline 171.

9 thoughts on “Making something of the “failed” SKEA Kickstarter: unSKEA – Android App for SKEA”

  1. Kudos to you Kiel! The fact that you want to take something that was abandoned and make it better and useable speaks to your character! Keep at it and i’m sure there will be some generous venture capital heading your way!

  2. Hi there

    Thank you so much for your time and effort.
    I am willing to share real data will you. Get in contact with me and we can maybe make something of this lost thing.

  3. Hi Just,
    Thanks for the app!! I commit to download it and come back to you with my feedback. I am not a doctor or a physiotherapist either, but I run a Spanish website on pelvic floor and I can give you facts and figures on pelvic floor exercises.
    Give me your contact details and I will send you all the information you need.
    Kind regards,
    Carla

  4. Thank you everyone for the kind words. @Carla, @Danielle I have your contact details and will be in touch shortly.

    I can confirm that it’s not just my SKEA that has a problem with recording pressure (see http://justkiel.com/wordpress/?p=1377). Luckily this can be readily addressed in software (I just needed to know the scale of the problem). I am currently investigating a radio related problem, which if anyone has already experienced I would like to know, basically the app may randomly disconnect when the SKEA is being used. This I highly suspect is caused by poor radio signal quality between the SKEA and the phone.

    I’m hoping to release a new version of the app by the end of January. If you have any suggestions I would be grateful to hear them!

  5. Sadly, I’ve not made much progress since the initial release. The project is constrained by my free time which is in short supply at the moment.

    I have confirmed their is an issue with the API, and identified some other hardware issues which I’ll try to address in the next version. My focus will be on audio feedback as visual feedback doesn’t work as well given the devices to hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *