People can calculate the load capacity of a bridge, a car or an elevator. However, how do we know the maximum load someone can carry without causing a long-term damage? In fact, we begin to know when it’s too late! According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries every year. Day by day heavy backpacks carried by more than 79 million students across the U.S. can cause low back pain that often lasts through adulthood.
In order to prevent possible future back pain and thereon related orthopedic pains, we invented schoolBuddy - a mentor, a training partner and a companion for schoolchildren. The idea behind is to create an accessory for children that fosters ‘learning by playing.’
The sensors cannot only measure the weight of school bags but also detects the imbalance of the weight distribution. However, final product is even more than just a simple warning signal. Whenever you carry your bag the wrong way – schoolBuddy helps you improve! It warns you, it gives you advice and it celebrates your progress with you.
The core technology of schoolBuddy is a new generation of flexible pressure sensors made of unexpansive conducting silicone compound. Thanks to the specially designed geometry the pressure sensor can well operate on free-form surfaces e.g. on human skins and bodies. And the best thing behind this technology: being linear the force path allows precise load measurements (applicable for different load ranges).
The sensors sync via Bluetooth with your smartphone and provide dynamic information about the load carried on your shoulders. However, the heart of schoolBuddy is the unique insights gathered from research including 3,000 children with back pains. The common believe that a child can carry about 10% of his own weight on his shoulders is in fact wrong. Actually the weight safe to carry highly depends on a person’s body, height, weight, muscles, skeleton structure and proportions.
The idea behind schoolBuddy stems from the daily experience – pain after carrying a backpack experienced by many already in adulthood. As simple as it seems, the possible causes are multifarious: long sitting in the office, too little exercise, a false move or course of movement, etc.; and among them - carrying heavy weights without knowing how to do it properly. All these habits originate from our school time.
SchoolBuddy is not a medical equipment – it is a smart system that helps people not only observe their own limits, but also exceed them step by step without causing a long-term damage.