Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Variable stiffness orthotic shell

braceBV22fabricModular cuffsplint


In recent decades, biomedical tools are becoming more and more successful with new innovative technologies that make devices more and more performing.Also in the field of splints or braces there is a need to improve performance by advancing the state of the art and it is precisely the case of this patent that protects a fabric that can easily adapt to different curvatures and then stiffen and have structural characteristics comparable to a rigid brace and/or plaster.

Technical features

The patent protects a star-shaped element with at least three flaps which, when suitably interconnected with other adjacent ones and in several layers, constitutes an innovative layar jamming fabric.Thanks to the shape of the single element, the fabric is able, locally, and consequently also globally, to assume the most disparate shapes (such as a saddle: typically very difficult to obtain with jamming technology) and stiffen thanks to a pressure of vacuum applied. The behavior is comparable to the current technologies for manufacturing splints (eg thermoforming materials) with the difference that this invention allows to restore the initial shape and then be stiffened again.

Possible Applications

  • Reversible brace;
  • Layer jamming;
  • Wearable robotics chassis.


  • Reuse of the material for different applications
  • No application difficulties (ie: hot water, plaster, etc.)
  • Low cost of construction and operation
  • Technology comparable with the current ones