While we can never account for injuries, we are always prepared with solutions and remedies to heal ourselves in case of one. We often get injured when we push the limits of our bodies and when we do, the only responsibility of ours is to follow protocol and give me the injury time to heal. Being an athlete my whole life, I have been physically injured one to many times. But there seemed to be a pattern to my injuries as they kept reappearing at the same spots time and again. So I wondered why this happens?
During my final project in my undergraduate programme, research pointed out that these injuries often reoccur in places where the rehabilitation process has not carried out completely and properly. In the case of my sprains, I often wore a crepe bandage to limit movement to my injury and stop it from aggravating. But in such situations during the rehabilitation period, I was unaware of how much I should or should move. This resulted in the healing process to be incomplete, leading to future injuries.
So my intervention is called Speedy Recovery. A motion based product that helps guide you during your recovery. The crepe bandage or in this case the arm sling, is fitted with a red and green LED which is programmed to light up based on the right and wrong posture. Every time your arm moves out of the range it should be moving, the red LED blinks, guiding you back to the right posture. While you are in the right posture the green LED stays on. This helps strictly implement body control during your injuries and carry out your healing process properly.
The two things considered while designing this were movement sensing as the product needed to be applicable to any physical injury that would need to restrict movement. And the second element contingent on its success was visible feedback, so the person could visually be guided back to the right posture.
As this product specifically is motion oriented, what I learnt a lot through this process was the ability to seamlessly introduce a piece of technology on the body without any obstruction. The second thing I learnt was to identify parts of the body based on the kind of data that needed to be fed into the product,
Parts & Materials:
- Arduino Nano 33 IOT
- Red LED
- Green LED
- USB charger
- Jumper wires
- Arm sling
- Sewing thread and needle
- Black cloth band
While the use of wearable technology for healthcare purposes is rapidly growing. I have chosen to draw inspiration from designs that intervene at early stages of a problem or even act as a preventive measure. Speedy recovery is an effort to completely rehabilitate an injury in its first recovery process in order to avoid future injuries. Similarly the designs I have referenced follow a similar trend.
The first one is an example for something that is beautiful. The Ouro ring is a wearable technology that helps measure and track body temperature, heart rate and the quality of sleep. Their underlying philosophy is that good sleep is the magic ingredient to living a healthy life. Every night while you sleep your body performs what they call “health miracles” sending out waves of signals through the body. This could be from improving your memory to producing cancer killing T cells. What Oura does, is decode these signals and communicate how your body prepares itself for the next day. Through this interpretation it provides insights you need to take on the next day. By masking such advice through an aesthetically beautiful ring, it has created an opportunity for people to care more about their sleep and prevent future health conditions.
In the second category of useful wearable technologies I was inspired by a wearable sweat sensor that informs athletes on water or electrolyte loss. This product is currently being developed by a team at Northwestern University and they believe that even though sweat contains salts, sugars, hormones and other valuable data. Very little research has gone into harnessing this data to measure bodily conditions. The patch contains fine tiny pores on its underside that allows the sweat to penetrate the device. Each holes contains a different sweat analysis technology. The patch bears similarities to a bandage and is just 1.5inches in diameter and can be worn on any part of the body. With changes in water or electrolyte levels, the patch changes its colour. By just taking a picture of the patch on the app connected to it, the app tells the athlete the exact amount of water they should be having. This prevents athletes from over-hydrating developing hyponatremia(condition of swelling of cells due to diluted salt levels) and also dehydration leading to many other physical conditions.
For the third category the product is extremely useful but based on its aesthetics and placement I consider the design to be terrible. It is a self powered knee sensor that could allow doctors to remotely monitor a patients recovery. While the product has multiple pros, the reason I categorize this to be bad design is because the product sits on top of the brace that the patient needs to wear post surgery. As the knee is already an extruding part of the body, even more while sitting. There is a possibility for the sensor to be knocked off or even damaged if the patient’s knee were to come in contact with any surface. The positives of this product are that it is constantly collecting data and conveying it to the physician or physiotherapist and it is powered by electricity generated when bent or twisted. This is beneficial as the product needs no replacement of batteries and always stays on.
Reference 1: Beautiful
The Oura ring: https://ouraring.com/
Reference 2: Useful
Jack Carfagno. “Wearable Sweat-Sensor Informs Athletes of Water and Electrolyte Loss” https://www.docwirenews.com/docwire-pick/future-of-medicine-picks/wearable-sweat-sensor-informs-athletes-of-water-and-electrolyte-loss/
Reference 3: Important but terrible
Enaie Azambuja. “Flexible self-powered knee sensor for rehab monitoring.” https://www.electronicspecifier.com/products/test-and-measurement/flexible-self-powered-knee-sensor-for-rehab-monitoring