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A better brace for scoliosis patients with composite additive manufacturing

By 16 March 2022April 15th, 2022No Comments
project team Bright Smart Scolioses Brace

Fited and Brightlands Materials Center collaborate on creating the Bright Smart Scoliosis Brace in a React-EU project. This is a lightweight, comfortable, 3D‐printed patient‐ specific corrective scoliosis brace. Made out of continuous carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics with embedded carbon fiber sensors that track patient compliance.​

logo's REACT-EU

This project aims to provide a brace that is more comfortable and less bulky compared to regular scoliosis braces. The Bright Smart Scoliosis Brace will have a high specific strength to weight ratio of carbon fiber composite structure, mesh design, and integrated locking mechanism. Due to the brace’s improved comfort and wearability, it is expected that patients are much more likely or able to comply with the prescribed usage‐time.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a genetic disease that affects 4% of the global population. Characterized by a 3D curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty in adolescents. Scoliosis can be treated using scoliosis braces, or through invasive spine surgery. Scoliosis bracing, as a non‐ invasive treatment is preferred for children due to risks involved in invasive spine surgery. The project aims to reduce surgery rates of young scoliosis patients.

Digitally designed and lightweight materials

Scoliosis brace measurement nowadays starts with an intimidating and imprecise plaster casting process. Current braces are made from rigid thermoformable plastics that are very bulky and uncomfortable. The materials lead to irritation due to perspiration at the brace/body. The Bright Smart Scoliosis Brace will be digitally designed and printed by using continuous carbon fiber additive manufacturing 3D‐printing technique (CFAM).

Smarter

This project aims to enhance treatment response and increase clinic visit efficiency through enabling remote patient care with continuous monitoring of brace wear compliance and pressures that are applied to the torso and spine. By detecting bone growth spurts and anatomical changes that necessitate a change in the treatment plan, the treatment can be adjusted much faster to treat the scoliosis more effectively. The brace will be the first scoliosis brace to combine continuous carbon fiber reinforcement with embedded self‐sensing and patient monitoring feature.

About Fited

Fited automates the design of patient-specific medical devices with embedded sensors for smart monitoring of treatment progress. Starting with scoliosis braces, Fited is focusing on medical devices across orthosis and prosthesis. They are creating a software platform to digitize the end-to-end process from disease detection to treatment monitoring, solving problems with the inaccurate and inaccessible traditional plaster casting and hand-molding process used today.

Het project Bright Smart Scoliosis Brace wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door het Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling, het Rijk en de provincie Noord-Brabant in het kader van OPZuid.

This project was made possible with support form the European Fund for Regional Development in the framework of REACT-EU.