A team of biomedical engineering students designed a prototype of an innovative shoulder brace for patients suffering from joint injuries they hope to patent one day.
“We have two athletes on our team, and one of them does have a shoulder injury,” biomedical engineer Ian McClure said. “It’s one of those injuries that does not have any really good treatment. There’s compression and there’s tape, but none of them actually help.”
Bio Exo Skulder mimcs muscle tissue and the skeletal structure to create a means of rehabilitation of the shoulder joint. The team created nylon synthetic muscle that are heat treated to take shape. During the team’s human trial testing with both healthy and injuried athletes, the brace not only reduced pain but also increased the range of motion of that shoulder.
Reflecting on senior design, McClure said, “It allows you to get a feel for engineering problems you’ll experience once you get out into the field. It gives you experience with businesses, patenting, IP and it allows you to while in academia, with the safety nets that are there, actually experiment and try and learn what you want to do as you get out into the field.”
McClure was a member of a 2015 senior design team and founded a company based off that year’s project.
“This looks like it is patentable and we may move forward with it as well,” said McClure.