Designing an intelligent personalized vest for scoliosis brace to improve treatment and monitoring of scoliosis in adolescents

This project will design an intelligent personalized vest for scoliosis brace with wearable sensors.

We will offer a solution by designing an intelligent personalized vest for scoliosis brace with wearable sensors that wirelessly communicate with an easy-to-use application on smart devices. 

The aim is to enhance the engagement of users, improve treatment, and provide continuous monitoring of scoliosis and treatment progress in adolescents.

The sensors are located in the smart vest that is worn underneath the brace. We will create and use smart e-textiles or soft electronics that are designed for our purpose.

Various outcome measures are considered including, but not limited to, pain, respiration, fatigue, muscle pressure, and movements.

Also, external environmental parameters like temperature and humidity will be measured. These parameters will help to indicate where the person is performing the task, indoors and outdoors, to explain the situation better.

We anticipate that braces with a monitoring intelligent vest made from e-textile can result in better use and satisfaction compared with braces without a smart vest.

  • Participants

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  • More about the project

    In human-centered research, involving users is highly emphasized to take their needs, expectations, and perspectives into account for study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and implementation.

    Therefore, in this project we will take into account needs, wishes, and expectations of users in our design, prototyping, and pilot testing. We will also consult relevant health care professionals who are expert in conservative treatment of AIS with the aid of braces.

    Background

    Scoliosis is a group of conditions featured by alterations in the shape and position of the spine, thorax, and trunk. The pathogenesis of scoliosis is not fully elucidated and can indeed be considered a multifactorial disorder.

    80 percent of scoliosis cases are termed idiopathic scoliosis. Known factors are hereditary and environmental factors.

    If scoliosis is left untreated, it may lead to severe trunk deformities and consequently lead to respiration difficulties, limited movement capacity, lowered well-being, and disability.

    Impaired quality of life as a result of deformity is not only related to physical health but dramatically affects the mental health of affected individuals.

    A major group that is affected by idiopathic scoliosis is children and adolescents where scoliosis is often developed during a rapid growth period. There is currently no cure for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

    However, conservative treatments or corrective surgery are practiced. Conservative treatment aims at targeting morphological and functional dimensions of scoliosis to enhance the quality of life, limit disability, overcome psychological challenges, and promote physical and mental well-being.

    Braces

    Stopping or minimizing curve progression has been tried with the aid of bracing. The prevalence of AIS is estimated at up to 12 percent. About 10 percent of the diagnosed cases need conservative treatment and 0.1-0.3 percent need to undergo corrective surgery for the deformity.

    Various types of braces are used but regardless of the type, braces are proposed to delay or prevent the need for operation and hence indirectly can reduce surgery complications.

    There are however some challenges for children and adolescents to follow up the conservative treatment with braces.

    We hypothesized that if some relevant biometric data can be collected from an intelligent vest that is worn below the brace would help the optimization of plans for the use of the scoliosis brace, and facilitate potential changes or decision-making.

    We also proposed that such an intelligent personalized vest for scoliosis brace may not only help in improving treatment plans but could also enhance brace users’ motivation and satisfaction levels.

    The proposed intelligent vest will wirelessly communicate with a digital solution platform (in the form of an application on smart devices) to facilitate monitoring.

  • Collaboration

    For prototype design development and testing the project works closely with these OsloMet research groups:

    Health professionals will be consulted at the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Health Technology – Orthopedic Engineering and  the Centre for Intelligent Musculoskeletal Health (CIM) for musculoskeletal health, conservative treatment, regulations, and training used in management of scoliosis.