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Smart Textiles

Sensing T-shirt to help teenage spinal scoliosis patients

New t-shirts will look like a standard t-shirt, but the data provided by sensors will enable braces to be fitted more accurately.

11th November 2014

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Aarhus


Spinal scoliosis

Spinal scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) occurs in almost 2% of teenagers, mainly girls. The spinal brace treatment is required for 15% of cases.

However, in approximately 25% of cases the braces fail to achieve the corrective effect, if they are not worn as prescribed, or if they are not fitted correctly due to errors at the design stage.

Braces that are ill-fitted are uncomfortable to wear, and there is currently no feedback on how effective the braces are when they are being worn. Both factors can reduce teenagers’ motivation to wear them, the company believes.  

Personalised brace design.© Ohmatex

Accurate fit

Proteor SAS, the market leader in France for spinal brace manufacturing and distribution, is collaborating with SMEs Texisense and Ohmatex to improve the wearability and user experience for brace wearers and provide an alternative to the ordinary treatment by spinal braces.

emBrace t-shirts will look and feel like a standard cotton t-shirt but the data provided by the integrated Texisense fabric pressure sensors will enable braces to be fitted more accurately from the outset and allow daily monitoring of the braces’ effectiveness.

Increased comfort and daily monitoring has the potential to improve the compliance of teenagers, give valuable insight into the effectiveness of the treatment and increase the chances of spinal curvature correction, Ohmatex reports.

Innovative and successful

The project was successfully submitted to the European EuroStars programme with the help of the French consultancy firm Dynergie and was ranked 10th out of 215 eligible applications.

The EuroStars programme is designed to enable innovative SMEs to collaborate with key market players to commercialise new technologies. In 2014, 70 projects were chosen for funding.

The combination of Texisense’s fabric pressure sensors, Ohmatex’s expertise in textile connection technology and Proteor’s specialist knowledge and sales network, is expected to result in a new ready-for-market innovation not currently provided by any other spinal brace manufacturer.

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