Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scoliosis + Kyphosis Project

hELLO to everyone! This is my 4th year individual project, so I have decided to design a new back brace that will help in the treatment of scoliosis and kyphosis. It will be in connection with a chiropractic, or an orthopedic.
A back brace example for those who don't know what it is:
I firstly did a lot of market research and then created the following patient journey maps using some of Snook girls templates (which I was remembered from a class we had):
They show the happiness level as it go through the whole process, which is represented by the red line. I did it with an actual user of a back brace which its now 16 years old and started wearing a Boston Brace at 15, and also considered myself experience when i went to the orthopedic, and when I actually visit doctors.

I am going to add my final idea concepts and I will try explain how is going to work because people don't usually get it. So the following is kinda the final product:

So its like an X shape and the edges of the product are going to act opposed to each other, and that way the reduce/correct scoliosis angles. For kyphosis correction the body it will be pulled by the upper frond part towards the back and it will act against, or it will be supported by the belt part and the whole spine structure part.
For larger scoliotic angles I was thinking that only one from the X link could be used, and going through time the second could be later set on in order to push more the body. 
The X links it will be adjustable according to the patient problem and also the 4 pads at the sides will be adjusted for easy fitting by the end user. The user will push a small button at the side to loosen the bads and take off the brace and again the same button to tighten the bads and put on--this also gives the user the freedom to select how tight he/she wants the pads to be on her body off course their will be a security point so the patient will get treated.
By making the product that way the user can actually wear it for much less hours a day in order to get treated, instead of wearing a brace for 20 hours or so.
I have try to keep the product as minimized as possible, so it won't be uncomfortable, and also less invasive to the body. Off course, in order to clarify the hours needed to be on the body real testing must be done, by building and testing a real product on a dummy doll many times and then on humans beings. I don't have that ability so I am not going to actually build a real product I will try do my best though and I will put a video when I am done in about a month from now.
Also the spine part is going to allow some kind of movement to the user, is not going to be able to make large bending to the side and to the front. 
In order to achieve that the internal structure of the spine will be inside made by spheres/balls, springs, small plastic parts and wires. 
The balls and the springs are going to pass through the wire which will also pass through a small piece of plastic, I don't know if it's quite clear on the above image but I have try to make the spine part works actually as a spine but not that freely as the user body must be maintained in a specific position. 

A small summary of where I was before a 3 months time.
I hope you understand what I am trying to do. 
The most important part is that the patient is not required to wear for a long period of time per day, as it does not help to keep your bones and muscles stable and not moving. Also the user which usually are teenagers going to school can wear it after school and no one would really know. So it will improve the psychology of the user. 
 A few ending points I will wanted the opinion of the people who actually have wear a back brace on something which seams really crazy and everyone who wishes to give his/her opinion: I was thinking that side pushing pads (the yellow part on the top image) could be developed and small microphones could be inserted so the can play music by simply plugging in your mp3/4 at the front. That would make the product somehow visible but it will give it something cool in my opinion. 
I am waiting for your comments and I will try have soon a more clearer 3D-CAD model to show to everyone.


1 comment:

  1. Hi DoBonnie,
    The reason I dislike back braces is because they don't treat the neurological cause of the condition, eliminate environmental influences, halt progression, psychologically scar children, do not reduce surgical rates, and increase the amount of permanent disc deformity which leads to a higher risk of adulthood progression. Your claim that this scoliosis brace doesn't need to be worn full time and "does not keep your bone and muscles not moving" means it isn't working under the Hueter-Volkmann principle, so I wondering what mechanism your purposing to use in this brace's attempt to influence the curvature. In addition, most idiopathic scoliosis case have a hypo-kyphosis in the thoracic spine which this brace appears to make worse.....Just like the boston brace in this 3-D CAT scan. http://www.treatingscoliosis.com/moderate-severe/127.html

    The future of scoliosis treatment isn't in braces.