This year’s American James Dyson Award winner, Sangyu Xi, created a new kind of scoliosis brace. The “Invisalign” of scoliosis braces, Airy, is a breathable, comfortable, and adjustable brace that can be set up at home with a unique installation guide. Airy is adjustable to accommodate patient growth for up to three years and includes access to an app to track wear time and healing.
The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. Each year a national winner is selected and receives a cash prize. In addition, runner ups are named and all three inventions move to the next round of the award to be considered for the top 20 list comprised of the best inventions around the world.
Impacting 7 million Americans per year, scoliosis is a lateral curvature in the spin that often occurs before puberty. It’s so common that students around the US are often tested for scoliosis in school. Despite this, advancements in the braces used to treat this medical condition have not been changed since the late 1950s. Common braces are bulky, inflexible and can take a long time to manufacture. Because scoliosis is often diagnosed in teenagers, the stark, bland appearance of the very noticeable braces can deter highly impressionable, young patients from wearing the brace as often as they should.