Pedro Nakazato Andrade, Brazil
The most interaction your broken bones can expect is a fl urry of signatures and well-wishes on your cast—nice, but
not exactly conducive to healing. Brazilian designer Pedro Nakazato Andrade, however, has something more engaging
in mind: a high-tech orthopedic cast that not only monitors recovery but also cues up your own online cheer squad.
Using electromyographic (EMG) sensors, “Bones” tracks muscle activity around a fracture in real time, wirelessly
syncing that data to a website doctors can access. Online, Bones analyses the patient’s progress, suggests specifi c
exercises to keep the affected muscles active, and extrapolates the time to full mobility if targets are consistently met.
Andrade designed the “smart” cast as a tool for recovery, as well as empowerment. No more waiting to see a doctor
for a vague notion of how you’re doing—Bones’ live feedback lets you know whether your fracture is under
strain or if you’re not working your muscles enough to keep them from atrophying. By treating recovery like a game
(i.e., performing the correct exercises shortens your time spent in a cast), Bones ultimately reduces healing time.
Plus, Andrade’s system incorporates social networking so Bones users can share stories and tips about recovery.
“On the website new users can visualize the achievements of current and former patients with the same type
of fracture,” he says. “The reason for sharing this information works as a way to encourage new users to engage
with their recovery process from the beginning of their treatment.” Recovery from any ailment can be an isolating
process. Bones ameliorates that by creating a community of patients, doctors, and physiotherapists to draw from.