Smart Back

Creator: Amanda Han
Supervisor: Peter Yeadon

This study examines solutions for kyphosis. Current back braces pull the shoulders back for the duration of usage, but if back support is worn too much, then the body becomes dependent on the brace and muscles will weaken. Once that happens, pain worsens when the brace is removed and the chance of getting a back injury is also higher. Back braces are typically recommended on a short-term basis and since dependency on a brace does not allow for permanent recovery, it is important to actively keep good posture by building up lower back muscles.
The design goal of this project is to motivate users to have correct posture by passively reminding users to engage their lower back muscles. Silent, lightweight shape memory alloys are integrated into the back brace to help reinforce the ideal posture by pulling the user’s shoulders back and straightening their spine. At different time intervals, the smart material will tighten, which serves as a reminder for the user to straighten their back. Simultaneously, it pulls the shoulders back and pushes the spine into an ideal position.