Playskin™ Lift: Assistive Garments for Young Infants With Weakness or Movement Problems (UD14-27)

Technology Description:
For individuals with weakness and/or movement impairments, these garments can be used to assist functioning and as rehabilitative devices to minimize impairments across time. Populations that could benefit from this type of device include: infants with brachial plexus palsy (nerve damage to one arm at birth), infants born preterm, infants with Down syndrome, children with cerebral palsy, individuals with hemiplegia due to cerebral palsy or stroke, individuals with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, individuals with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, and individuals with spinal muscular atrophy.

Playskin LiftTM is a garment that provides varying levels of assistance to young infants who cannot yet reach and to individuals with weakness and/or movement problems with their arms. It is a soft, comfortable, attractive, wearable garment that incorporates stiff yet flexible components to help support the arms lifted against gravity. This allows users to interact with objects in front of them for important tasks such as eating, playing, writing, and doing computer work.

The Playskin LiftTM is the most fully developed model of the PlayskinTM series of garment-based orthoses. The initial prototype for this device has been fabricated and is already being tested. The mechanisms being utilized to assist anti-gravity arm support in these initial prototypes include the use of flexible metal components run in parallel and held together by a sheath to create friction among the components and custom designed air pockets users can actively control to inflate and lift or deflate and lower the limbs. The PlaySkin LiftTM Garment uses piano cables cut to the appropriate length and run in parallel. The cables are then compressed and held together by a soft heat shrunk material. The result is an insert that fits into a tunnel built in a garment that runs under the arm, below the armpit, and down the side of the rib cage. The cables themselves are flexible but also elastic so when they bend under the weight of the limb, they want to return to their original shape so they provide anti-gravity lift to the arm. Variable inserts have different colors of wrap to designate ones with progressively more cables to provide more lift (for more assistance or for large arms). Therefore, one can adjust the level of assistance by switching the insert.

– Gives disabled children ability to use affected limbs
– Inexpensive manufacturing process
– Less bulky than established garments

Patent Status:
The technology is patent pending with fully preserved U.S and worldwide patent rights available for licensing opportunities.