Scoliosis corset made of metamaterials

Medical research, plastics, metamaterialS

MetAK facilitates scoliosis corsets in new, modern designs which are very comfortable to wear.

Metamaterials made of variable-stiffness plastics were originally used for reducing vibrations in structures. The ability to adjust the stiffness means that the material is the perfect basis for a corset used to treat spinal disorders such as scoliosis. In this case, the hard basic structure supports the body while soft transitions enable a comfortable fit. Medical requirements are thus reconciled with comfort and customizable design.

Variable-stiffness metamaterials

Eine Studentin und ein junger Mann stehen auf einer Bühne. Beide tragen Mikrofone. Die Frau zeigt ein blaumetallic-farbenes Korsett, das sie unter ihrer Jacke und über ihrem T-Shirt trägt.

Presentation of the project at the Fraunhofer internal networking symposium “Netzwert 2017”.

Variable-stiffness metamaterials

The advantage of using metamaterials in the field of component design is that specific properties can be imprinted on components during the design phase. Metamaterials can be used in many areas to positively influence vibrations and wave propagation, such as optics, acoustics and structural dynamics. Metamaterials made of plastics are based on synthetic resin. The stiffness can be adjusted by irradiating them with UV light and heat. In this way, the degree of cross-linking and therefore the hardness of the polymer is adjusted. As a result, it is possible to produce components made of one material with different degrees of hardness. 

Functional and customizable design of orthopedic applications

Variable-stiffness metamaterials are used in orthopedic corsets, for treating the spinal disorder scoliosis for example. Here, a support corset has to be worn for a long period. The disadvantage of existing corsets is that they cause pressure marks and the rough design is disliked particularly by young patients who feel uncomfortable wearing them. On the one hand, the metamaterials can be used to produce hard and soft zones which, in addition to their supporting effect, are very comfortable to wear due to the flexible way they yield. On the other hand, it is possible to respond to the wishes of the mainly young female scoliosis patients and create a corset with a customized, modern design and an air-permeable structure.  

Mit diesem intelligenten, auf den Menschen angepasstenm, Leichtbauprojekt erzielten die Forscher den ersten Preis der Ideenrunde auf dem Fraunhofer-Netzwertsymposium 2017.

Fraunhofer LBF is looking for partners who will implement the project to market maturity.

Generative manufacturing processes make it possible to print the plastic in different degrees of hardness and in different designs. In this way it is possible to respond to the patients’ individual needs.


Customized design of the scoliosis corset

Customized design of the scoliosis corset