Airy is a more affordable and ergonomic off-the-shelf scoliosis brace that the teenager can wear comfortably and confidently. It aims to address long-term fabrication issues, patient compliance issues, and the unrecyclable and unresizable nature of existing braces, all of which have limited its adoption. With Airy, the user can order and assemble the brace at home, resize the brace length to fit them again as they grow, breathe and move their body more freely, design the brace with their own creativity or conceal it beneath their clothes, and at the end, donate the brace to peers in third-world countries where the brace is barely accessible.
InstallationAiry arrives in this manner. Patients can simply put on the brace by following the one-of-a-kind guide tailored for their scoliosis symptoms.
StoryboardPatients can assemble the brace at home with assistance from their family OR visit a clinic for professional help.
Resizable designEach brace pieces can be repositioned to fit different patients' height and spine curvature, and avoid making a new brace when the patient outgrown it.
CMF & pattern5 colors available for the patients to match their outfit. The brace's transluscency allows the brace to change color by changing the padding. I also used Grasshopper to explore graceful and fabric-like pattern, that wouldn't make the patients embarrassed if their brace exposed in public.
Every brace is uniqueBy designing their own brace, patients drastically reduce the negative images of the brace.
Worn-time monitorIn recent years, wearing a time monitor with scoliosis brace has been obligatory in scoliosis therapy to uncover and aid improve the compliance issue. I prototyped the monitor with an Arduino UNO and wrote it in C++.
Airy monitor AppThe Airy App allows patients and their doctors to track the amount of time the brace is worn, keep muscles active by doing the exercises provided, communicate with doctors, and revise the treatment plan as scoliosis symptoms change.
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that most commonly occurs before puberty. It affects 3% of the world's population, and among all adolescent patients, girls are four times more likely to get it than boys. If left untreated, they may require surgery, which is out of reach for many middle-class American families. As a result, the scoliosis brace has proven to be the most cost-effective and effective treatment to date.
However, the brace's adoption has been impeded by several obstacles. To begin with, the brace is made from a plaster mold and takes 4 weeks to complete. The brace is expensive due to the highly manual and customized manufacturing process, and the long duration shortens the curative time for patients with rapidly progressing curvature. Second, due to the comfortability and outdated appearance of braces, it causes physical pain and mental stress in teenage patients, who are frequently mocked at school. Finally, because the brace is highly customized, patients must make a new one every two years on average when they outgrow it, also making the brace impossible to donate to others.
Therefore, I believe, Airy, an off-the-shelf, comfortable brace that can be easily set up and adjusted to fit all patients and their future growth, can solve the problems.
Airy requires no manual labor during the manufacturing process. It is available in three sizes to accommodate patients ranging in age from eight to nineteen years. Patients can order and assemble the brace at home using the A.I.-generated installation guide, which is tailored specifically to each patient's curvature, or they can visit a clinic for expert help if it is more convenient for them. When the patient outgrows the brace, she can reposition the brace pieces to fit her body again, and Airy has perforations on the pieces that allow for a 4-inch length change and a 40-degree angle change, avoiding the need for a new brace for at least three years. When the patient has completed her treatment, she can donate the brace to an NGO such as Surestep to assist scoliosis patients in third-world countries where scoliosis treatment appears to be more difficult to obtain. By doing so, we contribute to a more equitable distribution of medical resources to children all over the world. Alternatively, the patient can contact Airy's customer service to recycle the damaged brace. All Airy's parts are held together with snaps and screws; no synthetic glue is used. The virgin plastic can be recycled up to ten times, resulting in energy, oil, and landfill space savings.
In terms of compliance, Airy has more open space for the spine to move and correct, allowing patients to breathe freely while remaining as effective as others. We inherit the Light Cheneau brace's architecture, which has been validated in clinics for decades. The foam padding is intentionally designed with a pattern to allow heat to escape, allowing it to stay cool during the summer. Instead of a Velcro strap, Airy uses an elastic nylon cord to close the brace, allowing patients to bend and rotate their torso with ease. The Airy brace's translucency allows for color changes by changing the padding or removing the padding to make the brace invisible. As a result, patients can design their own brace using the 5 patterns and colors provided by Airy, which engages them in the brace-making process and greatly improves compliance. Two of the five patterns and colors are feminine, and three are gender-neutral, in order to appeal to the majority of our customers: adolescent girls.
Airy enables scoliosis patients to rewrite their disease experience and elevates the sustainable solutions of orthotic braces to a new level.