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An Assisted Waist Supporter for Vertebral Rehabilitation

Li-Lin Chen
Electronic Engineering Department
Oriental Institute of Technology, New Taipei City, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Abstract Study shows that back injuries are the main

reasons of disabilities in American for the people under 45 years
old [1]. According to the survey of the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH), which is a part of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of USA, there is no
proof of the effectiveness of the back belt for prevention the back
pain and injuries. Despite the lack evidence of scientific studies,
more and more people wear the back belts for the back
supporter [1]. Those patients with the disorders of the sciatic
nerve, the spine or the intervertebral disc often result in the Fig. 1. The Assisted State and the Self-Supported State of the
difficulties of work because of the back pains. The purpose of this Waist Supporter
design is to help the users to gradually get rid of the dependence
of the back belts.
The assisted waist supporter has two states. One is the assisted II. FUNCTIONALITY
state and the other one is the self-supported state. While the air
pumps inside the design are full, this waist supporter is The main function of the assisted waist supporter is to
functioned as the back belt and it is in the assisted state. If the air propel vertebral rehabilitation among the patients with back
pumps are not activated, the design has no supporting effect so it injuries. Our assisted waist supporter contains two states and
is in the self-supported state. To reach the rehabilitation, the user achieved three functional modes, that is, time-switch mode,
should switch states while wearing it and the activation of the
assisted state should be gradually reduced. The controller of the self-switch mode, and adaptive mode. In time-switch mode,
state-switch for this waist supporter is implemented through an the device switch between states continuously at fixed interval.
APP of the mobile phone. The user can easily adjust the state- In the self-switch mode, patients can regulate between the
switch to reach the effect of rehabilitation. assisted state and the self-supported state of the device
Index Terms back injuries, vertebral rehabilitation, waist according to their vertebral condition. The supporter
automatically modifies the duration of the state-switch
according to the patients rehabilitation condition in the
I. INTRODUCTION adaptive mode. The three operation modes are explained as
According to the medical report, there are about 80% of
1. Time-switch mode
adult life in Hong Kong will experience back pain [2]. Back
In this mode, the state-switch of the assisted waist supporter
strain, poor posture and degenerative problems are the most
is set at fixed times. The device activates the air-pump motor
common causes of back pain [2]. The waist belts nowadays
and air-valve motor repetitively at fixed intervals such that it
provide supplemental support effect only, such that it might
is switched between the assisted state and the self-supported
result in relying. In order to reach the vertebral rehabilitation,
state regularly. The switch intervals can be set through the
the patients have to reduce the usage of the supporter
doctors according to the vertebral diagnosis of the users.
gradually. To achieve this, we have developed an assisted
2. Self-switch mode
waist supporter and applied the patent [3]. This device allows
The user can randomly and freely switch the states while
users to set the adequate modes and adjust the assisted state
using this support. Since the vertebral situation of the patients
and self-supported state according to their situation. The usage
might be varied by lots of reasons, the severities of back pains
of both states by the patients are shown as fig. 1. The
could be distinct even for the same user. The user should be
supporter are functioned as the waist belts in the assisted state
able to switch the states for their own best interest of
while the air-pump motor will be activated. While the air-
rehabilitation. The setting information will be stores through
valve motor is powered to deflate, the supporter cannot
the internet of the controller of the assisted waist supporter. It
function at all. Such that the dependence of the waist
can help the doctor understand the vertebral rehabilitation
supporter is removed. The effect of the vertebral rehabilitation
conditions of the patients.
is achieved through the adequate adjustments of the state-
3. Adaptive mode
For both time-switch and self-switch modes, the
information about the vertebral rehabilitation conditions of

users must be restored through mobile phone into the +5V J2

evaluation system. The physician can set up the modification +5V


methodology for each patients according to the above

J2 C945
R2 R1 +5V

15K 10K U3 ADC0832 1 B
2 2

feedback data through an implemented neural network 8051

5 6 CON2 Q11


2 40

learning algorithm. 1 3 CH0 VCC B B
2 CH1 9 2 2

7 31 Q6


1 18 29

CS 19 X2 PSEN 30 B
8 X1 ALE 2

8 17 Q12
R3 R4 7 P1.7 P3.7/RD 16 C945


10K 10K 6 15
5 P1.5 P3.5/T1 14
4 P1.4 P3.4/T0 13
3 P1.3 P3.3/INT1 12
2 P1.2 P3.2/INT0 11

There are two kinds of systems implemented. The controller

P1.1 P3.1/TXD TxD
1 10
P1.0 P3.0/RXD RxD
+5V 32 28
P0.7/AD7 P2.7/A15

of the setting in the first kind system is incorporated into the

S2 SW SPST 33 27
1 2 34 P0.6/AD6 P2.6/A14 26
35 P0.5/AD5 P2.5/A13 25 C1
C3 4.7uF 36 P0.4/AD4 P2.4/A12 24 10pF

microcontroller of the waist supporter. So it is convenient for 37 P0.3/AD3 P2.3/A11 23 11.0592MHz

P0.2/AD2 P2.2/A10

R5 10K 38 22
39 P0.1/AD1 P2.1/A9 21

P0.0/AD0 P2.0/A8

the user to setup the operation modes and switch intervals. Its U4

system structure is shown as fig. 2. The pressure sensors will


transmit the setting information to MCU. The MCU will

Fig. 4. System Circuit
control its air-pump motor to achieve the assisted state and
power up the air-valve motor to be in the self-supported state.
The function of the blue-tooth is to restore the information
about the patients rehabilitation. The second kind of system is IV. CONCLUSION
implemented through the remote control system and the APP An assisted waist supporter for vertebral rehabilitation is
of mobile phone. Its structure is shown as fig. 3. The setting implemented. To achieve vertebral rehabilitation, this patients
data is input through the remote control system and the control using the waist supporter should switch states between the
signals are transmitted through the internet to the mobile assisted state and the self-supported State in order to reduce
phone. The APP will activate the air-pump motor and the air- the dependence of the supporter. The implementation is based
valve motor directly. The main system circuit is shown in fig. on the cooperation between the electronic engineering
4. The major innovation in this system is on the switch control department of oriental institute of technology and the
of the implemented states. The patients can easily select neurology department of far eastern memorial hospital. The
operation modes and adjust the state-switch for their own goal patent of this design, an assisted waist supporter for vertebral
of rehabilitation. rehabilitation. has been granted on Jul. 1, 2014.

The authors would like to thank Yiu-Tong Chu and Ling
Cheng of Far Eastern Memorial Hospital for their help.

[1] F. Blosser, No Evidence That Back Belts Reduce Injury Seen
Fig. 2. System Structure of the Assisted Waist Supporter in Landmark Study of Retail Users, National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, Dec. 5, 2000.
[2] Low Back Pain, Health InfoWorld, Hospital Authority,
etails.html?id=177, Sep. 2, 2015 revised.
[3] L. Chen, Y. T. Chu, L. Cheng, M.C. Chung, J. H. Li, J. J. Yan,
and J.Y. Chen, An Assisted Waist Supporter for Vertebral
Rehabilitation," Patent Number M480977, Jul. 1, 2014-Mar. 09,

Fig. 3. System Structure of Remote Control with Mobil Phone