Will Smarter Underwear Save Our Backs?

Video Credit: Vanderbilt University

Close to 80% of all adults will develop back trouble at some point in their lives; and back pain is currently the leading cause of world-wide work disability. But a team at Vanderbilt University aims to change those statistics in the not too distant future. Their solution? Smart Underwear.

While the concept may sound strange at first, these engineers have taken technology to a whole new level in designing an undergarment that can reduce the spinal stress that affects the lower back when lifting.

Typically, a certain amount of “load” gets transferred down the body through the spine when picking up or carrying something. A person wearing smart underwear would tap the device, and a portion of that load would travel through the elastic band instead of the back muscles–reducing strain and ultimately back pain. In test studies, the smart underwear reduced back muscle activity by up to 43 percent.

Though not yet available for purchase, the Vanderbilt team expects their garment to come on the market within the next year. Read more.

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