A new T-shirt with textile pressure sensors will increase the comfort and effectiveness of spinal braces worn by teenagers suffering from scoliosis. It is being developed by a leading French-Danish consortium, which includes Ohmatex.

Spinal scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) occurs in almost 2% of teenagers, mainly girls, and 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.

Spinal brace manufacturing process, Proteor.

Spinal brace manufacturing process, Proteor.

Proteor SAS, the market leader in France for spinal brace manufacturing and distribution, is collaborating with SMEs Texisense and Ohmatex ApS to improve the wearability and user experience for brace wearers and provide a revolutionary 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.

Personalised brace design.

Personalised brace design.

The project was successfully submitted to the 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. 70 projects were chosen for funding in 2014.

The combination of Texisense’s unique fabric pressure sensors, Ohmatex’s expertise in textile connection technology and Proteor’s specialist knowledge and sales network, will result in a new ready-for-market innovation not currently provided by any other spinal brace manufacturer. This will be a first for the market and for scoliosis therapy and will create a breakthrough for both clinicians and their teenage patients.