Smart materials are increasingly being used in all spheres, including health care. At the De Vinci Innovation Center, ESILV students work on several projects that could ultimately transform markets such as sports and well-being, education and rehabilitation.
The De Vinci Innovation Center, which started investing in cutting-edge equipment as early as 2019, is gearing up to take up the challenge of smart materials. By exploiting the physicochemical characteristics and operating the technologies embedded in the various materials, the Leonard de Vinci Innovation Centre students receive skills in the development of new flexible and active materials.
Here is an overview of three projects developed by students from the Innovation, Research and Manufacturing programme as a part of the “Flexible and active materials” lab.
A smart corset to ease the treatment of scoliosis
Passionate about textiles and health, Marie, class of 2023, has embarked on the challenge of using fabrics to improve people’ health.
“The idea of the intelligent corset emerged when I discussed the way manufacturers were tailoring mass-produced garments in terms of the variety of morphologies. Unfortunately, this is also the case for medical materials, which are not necessarily suitable for all types of bodies.
So I wanted to create a garment that takes the measurements of the wearer itself.
I am currently working on the mechanical deformation and pressure sensors that will be part of the garment. We will use them to collect as much data as possible on the person’s morphology (measuring waist circumference, hip circumference, and pressure on the skin).
This project will serve as a tool for orthopaedic specialists who have to take a lot of measurements to design orthopaedic corset (for the treatment of scoliosis) especially for children and teens who need to take measures regularly”.
Sensitive Pen: a connected pen for correcting writing-related problems
Cédrine, a student at the IIM School, class of 2023, is interested in technologies that can help diagnose and identify pathologies associated with writing.
” Sensitive Pen ” is a project born from the collaboration between the DVIC and the Motion Lab of the CRI (Interdisciplinary Research Centre, University of Paris). The project is part of a thesis carried out at the CRI by Ana Phelippeau ( psychometrician and doctoral student). It consists of a measurement tool to assess the writing gesture in children.
So, together with Ana, I began to design a “hyper-connected” pen, i.e. a pen which determines how the child handles the pen, by using different sensors located directly on the pen.
To be able to quantify, measure and follow the development of the child’s writing gesture according to his neuro-psychomotor development during a test carried out with a psychometrician, this pen can trace in real-time the following characteristics:
- the written trace left on the paper/the graph of the ink on the paper
- the pen’s orientation in space
- the position and number of fingers holding the pen
- finger pressure on the pen
- the pressure of the pencil lead on the paper
PhD in Computer-Human Interaction: Developing a flexible and sensitive synthetic skin for prostheses
After his graduation, Brice, class of 2020, major in Computer Science, Connected Objects and Security, started a PhD thesis in Computer Human Interaction (CHI).
“My thesis consists in the creation of sensors and actuators (which create a motion, like a muscular one) from soft materials (silicone, fabric, latex), also called “soft robotics”.
I develop these elements to help improve human implants, in terms of the strength they can deploy, their weight, and their appearance. These materials indeed have excellent mechanical and elastic properties that are under-exploited, and above all, they have the advantage of adapting their shape according to needs.
By aiming to give them a more human appearance and behaviour, I try to make the wearer feel that the prosthesis is a part of their body and keep using it while being more comfortable.
To carry out all this, I work with the Lynxter company. It’s a 3D modular printer design company that can print a wide variety of materials. I intend to modify the printer so that it can allow me to print the different electronic and mechanical elements of the prosthesis”.