Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
Our muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints are some of the body parts that enable us to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry items, and function in a variety of ways. However, sometimes, even the simplest of tasks like sitting, may cause pain and result in serious injuries such as musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). Constant overexertion can progressively develop MSDs such as back, neck, and shoulder pain, and could cause a lumbar sprain, tendonitis, and bursitis. These may be related to our work, age, and lifestyle which would consequently affect joints, and muscles. At first, MSDs can manifest as mild discomfort and dismissable pain but it may worsen if left untreated and can easily affect our quality of life over time.
Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs)
Frequent and repeated movements, or staying in a single position for a prolonged amount of time, which is something that sometimes cannot be avoided at the workplace, such as sitting for extended periods of time, can cause trauma to the muscular and skeletal structures of the body, which can then result in work-related musculoskeletal disorders. WMSDs specifically in the back and neck areas are some of the most common reasons for people to visit healthcare clinics and are among the leading causes of disability that can easily prevent people from going to work as well as engaging in daily activities. It is estimated that back pain accounts for 264 million lost workdays each year which means two workdays for each full-time worker which then adds up to a cost of $50 billion to the economy due to slowed productivity, reduced turnover, and increased medical bills.
Musculoskeletal Disorders among Dentists & Dental Hygienists
Oral health care professions are among the high-risk jobs for developing MSDs, the most common ones being chronic lower back pain, tension neck syndrome, trapezius myalgia, and rotator cuff impingement. These can directly affect one’s working capacity through absence from work due to pain and if left untreated, it can shorten an oral health care provider’s career. Hard working conditions that result in holding a poor posture for long periods of time contribute to the risk of MSDs. Studies have shown that 77.9% of dentists have reported having chronic back pains during their careers due to sitting down for long periods of time, this results in pain and strains in the back, the legs, the gluteus muscles region, as well as the core.
In conclusion, musculoskeletal pain is definitely an issue with a high-risk, physically demanding career such as dentistry. So we decided to design a smart wearable device called Posture Leader to tackle this issue among dentists and dental hygienists.
Posture Leader Is Comprised of Three Parts;
To determine the location of the practitioner the smart wearable device has a spine sensor (tag) that receives signals from the existing sensors behind the headrest on the dental chair unit (anchor). The triangular tracking system would determine the practitioner’s body positioning with regard to the patient. To correctly determine the posture being held and lessen the device’s margin of error, a combination of a gyrometer and an accelerometer are also placed inside the spine sensor. The practitioner’s postures are recorded to monitor and analyze their postural habits. By using machine learning and gesture recognition, we have been able to accurately analyze posture movements and detect improper postures among dental professionals. Artificial Intelligence powers the detection system and updates the database according to the user’s performance and feedback. The product is designed to prevent common work-related musculoskeletal disorders among dental professionals by informing them about their frequently held harmful postures.
Furthermore, after analyzing the data, Artificial Intelligence will provide the user with tailored exercises to help strengthen and correct their postures. The wearable device is made from high-quality material and can be worn underneath clothing. A PCB along with the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module and the sensor chip is inside a custom-built container which can be seen in the figure.
The last part is the mobile application which has been developed specifically for dental professionals. It is user-friendly and features a real-time display of posture changes. When deviating from the correct posture for specific dental procedures, both the device and the user’s cellphone will vibrate to notify the users of their poor posture. The app is customizable so that the user can change some of its features to better suit their needs. It will also log the user’s posture throughout the day, giving them corrective daily exercises for their neck and back based on recent postures, and would suggest healthier functional equivalents of their postures.
Dental Chair Unit Anchor
The second part of our device is the dental chair unit anchor, which will be placed behind the patient’s headrest. The with the main function of this part of our device would be to send signals to the spine sensor which will then determine the exact location of the practitioner. The dental unit anchor is comprised of two chips that will send Ultra-Wideband (UWB) signals to the spine sensor in a simultaneous manner to detect the practitioner’s location via a triangular tracking system that is also known as IPS (Indoor Positioning System) technology.