This kind of intelligent biomedical clothing, the researchers say in their paper, could give doctors a better look at what the muscles in the trunk are doing during therapy. Those muscles are important to balance and even limb movement.
The team presented their work in the journal BioMedical Engineering
The sensors are made from stretchy conducting materials called conductive elastomers. They are piezoelectric, so they generate current whenever they're bent or stretched, and they're printed onto the fabric, keeping it lightweight. The garment itself zips up the front and has velcro strips on the side to adjust for different body sizes. A set of suspenders holds it up over the shoulders.
The scientists had a subject move around in the corset, and then gathered data that showed it was possible to monitor movement and exercise while it was being worn. It won't provide high-precision measurement, but it's enough to see whether a patient is moving and the direction they are bending and flexing in. That's likely good enough for most physical therapists - who will have better data and know if a person is doing the exercises correctly.
Image: Paolo Tormene