Scoliosis Brace Designed To Last Along With Patient’s Growth Wins Dyson Award
People who suffer from scoliosis can tell you how debilitating the condition can be. They need to wear a brace that allows them to live life comfortably. Unfortunately, the children who use these oftentimes outgrow the brace within years.
The worst part of it all is that the brace doesn’t come cheap. People have to shell out thousands of dollars each time just to get their hands on one of these. But the good news is that they may not need to worry about the expense and discomfort soon enough.
Credit must be given to an intrepid University of Cincinnati grad student who had the imagination and intelligence to invent an adjustable brace for young patients who have been required to reposition their curved spines. Because of his efforts, he managed to snag a prestigious award for her design genius, and everyone couldn’t be prouder.
Scoliosis affects around 7 million Americans each year. This condition means that there is a curvature in the spine, and this often happens before puberty hits the person. There is a big number of people affected by it and despite the statistics, advancements in braces that are designed to address this issue have not changed since it came to be in the 1950s.
The braces you find in the market now are bulky, inflexible and extremely noticeable. This is especially unfortunate for teenagers who need to wear one but don’t want people to notice anything. The latter problem discourages many of the young ones from using it as much as they should because they become self-conscious about it.
Fret no more because Sangyu Xi won the American James Dyson Award. He did so because he created a novel prototype that he called Airy. This brace is breathable, comfortable, and adjustable. This means that not only is the brace easy to use, it can also be word for three years even when the patient has a growth spurt within the time frame. Even better is that Airy is recyclable and it comes with an app that allows the user to keep track of wear time and healing.
As for the outside color, Airy allows for modifications or padding that can be removed so that the brace becomes translucent and inconspicuous. This means that the patient can use the brace with confidence. Once the scoliosis has been treated, patients can donate these to third-world peers. Or, if they choose to, this can be recycled as much as 10 times. This has been made possible because glue has not been used at all during its manufacture and creation.
The app that comes with Airy also allows physicians to communicate with their patients in real-time. This also enables them to make adjustments to treatment plans if needed in a timely manner.
Since the creation of Airy, the prototype has already gone through careful testing with the participation of four teenager patients that had come from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They observed what happened and took notes of the feedback, all of which were very positive. This gave them hope about the possible future of the brace.
As for the engineering and design student, she hails from China and she always knew she wanted to use her talents to make a device that will enable someone in need to “have a different life.”
“Winning this national award really means something to the scoliosis patients who are trying to call to people ‘we want something new that we want to wear and that can help us fight against scoliosis,’” said Sangyu.
As for Sangyu’s future, she has plans to continue patient trials. Her goal is to perfect and hone the design of the prototype. She also has plans to use the Dyson Award prize for good. She already wants to hire a machine learning engineer to make more improvements on the Airy app. She also wants to include an orthopedic mentor to her team so that they can all do something to bring Airy to market.
Below is the video that gives you a closer look at Airy and how this will be able to help patients all over the world…