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Raycom Personal Massager
Mon Dec 9, 2002 - 9:16 AM EST
By Jonathan Hoffman

Name Personal Massager
Company Raynet Technologies
Size
Weight (module) 0.7 oz.
Weight (w/ cables) 2.0 oz.
Memory needed 7 Kb
Color Yes
Availability Unknown
$59

Introduction

When the Springboard was invented people probably didn't think that we would ever see a module that could provide a relaxing massage. A massager that works off a Visor was a thought out of the ordinary. Who would of thought that their Visor would have been able to actually produce them a real, physical massage? Well Raynet technologies thought and boy did they think well.

How it Works

The Raycom Personal Massager works off EMS technology (Electronic Muscle Stimulation). By emitting electronic zaps, a feeling similar to hands rubbing your back can be felt. You might be mislead when I say electronic zaps and think that the thing electrocutes you but really what it basically does is send very small amounts of electricity through your body and from this, a tingling, at first weird, but then relaxing sensation is created. EMS machines are used by most chiropractors and are a good way to relieve muscles pains.



First Impressions

When I first received the Raycom Personal Massager combo pack (the module and the power pack which I will talk about later) and opened the box, the first thing I noticed was the lightness of the springboard module. It is literally about the size and weight of a matchbox and when you compare this to the price and size of the EMS machines chiropractors use, you can really see how this product can be such a novelty device. After reading the small instruction handbook I inserted the springboard… no noticeable extra weight whatsoever to the Visor. Next all I had to do was stick the pads on to my body (I chose the neck first), plug in the pads to the module, click start, in and let the module do its thing.

How it felt…

I didn't feel anything at first, but that is because the pressure was set at a setting of 10, in order to actually feel the massage you need to raise the pressure to at least 50. When I set the pressure to where it was noticeable, I first felt a really weird tingling feeling, but then after about 10 seconds it started to feel remarkably good. To all those skeptics out there, this thing really works and it was hard to believe that my Visor was actually providing me with such a well-done massage. On Thanksgiving I let my family have a try at it and my dad, who goes to a chiropractor, said that the module felt very similar to the EMS stimulation you can receive at the chiropractor. I am very pleased with how effectively the massaging works.

The Software

Like all true springboards, the software loaded itself onto the Visor, no extra installations needed to get this baby running. The software is very easy to use, just choose a function (squeezing, chopping or tapping) or mode (shoulder, back, arm/leg, or toning (toning comes with the update)), click start, set pressure level to desired state, sit back and relax. One thing I really like about this module is that you can use any other palm application while the software is running, I can play Zap2000 while getting a massage, KEWL! You can control the pressure to your massage by using the up and down hard keys. I also liked the little, but informative graphics that is shown in the massage application while a massage is in session. The software also has a body guide that shows you the recommended areas where you should place the gel pads.


One great feature to this module is that you can make your own personal massage modes other than the ones already available to you and you can download from the Raynet technologies website and install new modes onto the springboard module. For example, the update which can be downloaded at their website adds a new "toning" mode. After downloading this update I liked the massager even more! But don't get your hopes up, this does not whatsoever replace exercise. I talked to Mr. TC Pang, Managing Director of Raynet technologies, to understand what the toning mode can do and learned that by using the toning mode before a workout at the gym, the respective muscles are loosened allowing a much smoother and more effective workout.

The Smart Power Pack

Raynet technologies was smart enough to include an optional power pack that is able to work with the massager for all non Visor or non PDA users. If you look closely at the module you will notice a small connector slot that connects to the power pack. Using small metal pins, the power pack easily connects to the module. The power pack uses 2 AAA batteries and is very light and simple. There are only 2 buttons on the power pack itself but nevertheless the massager is still able to do just about everything it can do in the Visor. By following the simple steps on the diagram in the back of the power pack, one can enjoy the same massaging experience that is felt while the module is in a Visor.

 I also heard that Raynet will release in the future a product that allows this module to be used with any Palm handheld through the ingenious slot connector. I personally think that this will be a very smart thing for Raynet to do seeing how sadly few Visors can actually be found today.

Durability

The gel pads are the main things that I needed to look at most durability wise. It is recommended that before a massage you dry the skin area where you will apply the pads and that you keep them covered with the plastic strips that they come on. After using the pads for a week, 2 times a day, I did notice that the pads where becoming less sticky, but not much. As for now the pads stick fine to my body and still produce the same pleasuring feeling. But I really do recommend that you buy extra gel pads at the website just because they will eventually wear out. Overall, I am pleased with how the pads are holding up.

Battery Usage

Amazingly I did not notice any significant battery usage with a 15-minute massage in the Visor. I honestly think that battery usage will not at all be a problem to you when you use this product. As for the power pack, Mr. TC Pang informed me that with recent statistics, the power pack with 2 20-minute massages a day will last for about 2 months. No complaints at all on battery usage.

Complaints

There were at times though in the middle of a massage the massage session would stop and restart itself. But this only happened once or twice. Something that I would have liked would be a pause button in the software. There are times when I need to pause my massage session but every time you stop a massage it restarts the whole session. Maybe in a future update this will be implemented. My last complaint or more of a suggestion would be to add maybe a small screen onto the power pack. I really liked the way Raynet was able to have 2 buttons on the power pack do a massage well, but I think a small screen put onto the power pack would make things easier for an everyday user. The pads stay durable for a while but cant last forever and having to buy new ones I guess could be an annoyance to some people.

Conclusion

Overall Raynet has created an excellent product and with a possibility of something released in the future that would allow this product to be used with other PDA's, I think this product would be just about perfect. Thanks to this springboard module I can actually have my Visor physically massage and relax me, something I would have never dreamed of. I highly recommend this to Visor users who encounter stressful situations at work, school, wherever. If you don't own a Visor go ahead and buy the power pack with the massager, this really is the perfect option for someone who is looking for a well made personal massager.

Extra note: By reading this review, you can buy combo pack (the massager and the power pack) for 59 dollars, right in time for the holidays! Normally the combo pack is sold for 89 dollars so I wouldn't want to miss out on this really great deal. Update: This new price will be offered starting the 16th of December.

Features - 5
Usability - 4
Setup - 5
Cost/Benefit - 4
Final - 5

Pros
-Feels great
-Customizable massage modes
-Easy software
-No significant batter usage
-Can be used with separate Power Pack

Cons
-No pause button
-May shut off in the middle of a massage session
-Power pack could use a LCD screen


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