Exoskeletal Garment

The exoskeletal garment is called the PlayskinLift and is designed for children with upper limb impairment.  The project is part of a National Institute of Health R21 grant: a current clinical trial of the garment in use by babies with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and toddlers with arthrogyposis multiplex congenita (AMC).

Design Brief
Create a wearable device that could lift and support the arms of a child (1 month – 2 years old).   This garment would serve as both an assistive and rehabilitative tool for clinicians and families.  Project intended for initial pilot study, then R21 grant under Dr. Michele Lobo (PI).

The first prototype was designed & successfully tested with two toddlers with AMC for pilot data. The prototype was a onesie-style garment made of nylon lycra blend fleece-back jersey.  Polyvinylchoride composite fabric casings stitched under the arm held stainless steel cylindrical wire bundles that supported the load of the children’s arms.  The bundles could be decreased in resistance across time to provide a rehabilitative effect.  The casing was held in place by wide nylon webbing belt and detachable elastic wrist straps.

CAD playskin with strapsDesign Solution
Although this prototype worked well and was affordable to produce (less than $30.00 in materials), it was not perfect.  Parents gave us valuable feedback about the ease of use and suggestions for improved design details.  Based on this information, I designed a new, more streamlined version of the PlayskinLift:

062This version had a more breathable, powernet fabrication, vinyl casings with safety closure, and a zipper front closure.  Now available as either a shirt or a onesie, I have created more than 75 PlayskinLifts for our current R21.  We test the garment with both infants and toddlers, each PlayskinLift customized to the child’s needs, measurements, and style.

I can make the exoskeletal garment in fashion colors, or in more discreet white or flesh-toned shades.  I have also had special requests for Frozen-inspired garments and SpiderMan   (pictured of participant used with family’s permission):

IMG_3499Read more about the PlayskinLift.


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