Innovations in designs of medical back support could be on the horizon as engineers create a stimulator mimicking the behaviour of a human torso.
Lancaster University Engineering team and Dr Jane Martindale of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation trusts collaborated to build the simulator. It includes a male torso shaped mechanical testing rig, alongside a 3D printed spine and rib cage as well as computer simulation models, that closely resemble and behave in the same way as human tissues.
“Torso Simulator could lead to innovative back brace designs“
Data can be collected from the testing rig for each back brace reducing the need for human testing whilst at the early design phase. Human testers can be brought in further down the design process to help optimise comfort and muscle engagement.
Dr David Cheneler, part of the Lancaster University team of Engineers that created the simulator, said ’Existing back brace designs are often heavy, indiscrete and uncomfortable. Our simulator enables a new design of back braces that can provide support and restricted movement where needed.”