eNUF: Educational Neuromuscular Universal Feedback Because you are eNUF!

Inspiration

In speaking to the UNSDGs we sought to address three main goals: (3) good health and well-being, (10) reduced inequalities, and (12) responsible consumption and production. This project was designed to provide a universal solution to any individual who suffers from neuromuscular issues; according to the CDC back pain is the second largest reason a person sees a doctor--the most common of these issues being core dysfunction. We were inspired to provide sensory feedback to educate individuals about healthy body movements. Researchers have identified the importance of a strong core in relation to back pain and rehabilitation (Cholewicki & McGill,1996; Nesser et al., 2008), and has shown that core injury prevention can be achieved by increasing muscle activation of small muscles or by increasing passive joint stiffness associated with the lumbar spine. (Cholewicki & McGill,1996). Learning movements and building core strength are key factors in preventing and rehabilitating and are can be achieved through training. The goal is to prevent injuries and improve performance for all. Current products on the market addressing these issues are uncomfortable and bulky, therefore we wanted to design a comfortable and multi-purpose all-in-one solution using zero-waste manufacturing.

What it does

The eNUF short tells the wearer, through vibration, when they are properly positioned and when they are not, thus improving the ability to maintain healthy core function. eNUF is a knitted prototype garment designed using accelerometer to measure the pelvic tilt while walking and encourage proper positioning for a healthy core through sensory vibrations, resulting in improved quality of life.

How we built it

Using a collection of methods and technologies and implementing zero waste production is much needed in today's world, so we used M1 plus knit programming software for Stoll knitting machines to construct the zero-waste prototype garment. Our tech involved using an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express board, a non-latching Stemma relay, and Lilypad vibe board. Code was created to monitor the angle of pelvic tilt using the Adafruit's built-in accelerometer; within a "healthy" range the wearer receives a 1 second vibration at intervals to provide positive feedback. However, when the pelvic tilt reaches unhealthy angles the vibration's become persistent short-burst vibrations until the posture is corrected.

Challenges we ran into

Coding and technology issues. As a group coming from design backgrounds, we encountered numerous challenges in discovering the best solutions for producing wearables. These included knitting program complications, Arduino coding entanglements, and knitting machine snags. However, through our positive collaboration, persistence and good-old-fashioned trial and error we were able to overcome these challenges and learn new skills along the way.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Finishing before 7am, creating a functional prototype, learning, making new friends, and having fun.

What we learned

Soldering and coding for Adafruit, plaiting on a tubular, Optitex navigation, and working with a diverse group of individuals from various backgrounds who all share a passion for innovation and creation

What's next for eNUF

The possibilities are endless, this prototype was a proof of concept, with the potential for improvement and scalability, while maintaining zero-waste manufacturing standards.

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