I propose a device regarding “cold therapy” for home and hospital applications. As far as I known, “cold therapy” is still based on traditional ice-packs. Ice-packs can be useful to reduce joint inflammation, improve muscle recovery and in many other circumstances. The proposed idea aims to facilitate the implementation and to increase the performances of the "cold therapy". As shown in the attached picture (“Smart ice-pack applications”), this idea is based on two main components:
- “Cold generator “;
- Pack and hoses.
The “cold generator “ has the target to generate cold and to convey it to the pack thanks to a recirculating fluid flowing inside flexible hoses. The pack is in contact with the body and provides “cold therapy”. The “cold generator “ is an intelligent unit managed by a microprocessor, its main functions are:
- Generate cold by Peltier cells;
- Transfer cold to the fluid by a heat exchanger;
- Circulate the fluid into the hoses and bag by a small pump ( e.g. peristaltic pump);
- Monitor and control temperature by a feedback signal provided by a temperature sensor placed inside the pack;
- Provide different duty cycles as per medical prescription (e.g. 20 minutes cold on and 20 minute cold off);
- Ideally, the cold generator could invert its function and generate heat. In this case the Smart ice-pack becomes a Smart hot-pack;
- Provide connectivity to be managed by a smart phone (e.g. Bluetooth).
Different packs with different shapes are proposed to satisfy all kinds of needs (e.g. being compatible with different joints). The system is feasible because it can be realized using well know and tested components as shown in the attached picture (“Block diagram”). This idea can simplify and improve life to many of us. The Smart ice-pack should be available in all houses but also in hospitals. Obviously, the cost of the Smart ice-pack is not comparable to the cost of the traditional one, but the two devices are not comparable. If we consider differences in performances and differences in global management ( e.g. no need to recharge ice like you have to in traditional ice-packs), it is possible to understand that especially in hospital applications the Smart ice-pack can represent a less request of assistance, meaning a reduction of costs. Its widespread use (in homes and medical institutions) can help make the product cheap.