AI simplifies data analysis, offers suggestions to improve posture

Cai Wenjun
Incorrect sitting and sleeping positions have become leading causes for spinal issues, and many occur because of the height of a pillow, chair, or desk that is inappropriate.
Cai Wenjun

Editor's note:

Information technology, artificial intelligence and big data are playing increasingly significant roles in health care. This series on many sectors of the health industry is intended to demonstrate the role of advanced technology, intelligent systems, and new inventions.

Shot by Jiang Xiaowei. Edited by Jiang Xiaowei. Subtitles by Cai Wenjun.

AI simplifies data analysis, offers suggestions to improve posture
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A doctor at Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital guides a patient to make the appropriate gesture so artificial intelligence can collect and evaluate data.

Incorrect sitting and sleeping positions have become leading causes for spinal issues, and many occur because of an inappropriate height of a pillow, chair, or desk.

But how do we know the best height of these items to best protect the spinal health of adults and allow young people to grow with good posture and strong spines?

Shanghai doctors are utilizing artificial intelligence to help spinal pain sufferers.

AI simplifies data analysis, offers suggestions to improve posture
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Five images of the patient in different poses are collected by the AI system for spinal health evaluation and guidance on correct sitting, standing and sleeping positions.

The Shanghai 10th People's Hospital has opened the nation's first dedicated clinic, offering professional measuring and individualized instruction on the proper height for each person's desk, chair, pillow, and even the hardness of their mattress. Patients only need to pose for several photographs under the guidance of doctors, then the AI system does a calculation and gives customized suggestions.

Previously, patients needed to have many parts of their bodies measured separately, which was time-consuming and troublesome. Doctors teamed with AI professionals to develop an AI-based system, which can complete the same process with only five pictures.

"Proper posture and movement is the best protection for spinal health and rehabilitation for those with spinal illness or who have undergone surgery," said Dr He Shisheng, leader of the project.

"Many office workers in their 30s have an early onset of spinal degeneration problems or diseases due to long-term improper posture while sitting. An improper posture can cause the fatigue of muscles and the whole upper body weight is compressed on the spine, causing problems.

"Patients with spinal problems should receive individualized guidance and intervention can improve their posture and ease neck and waist pain. For minors, it is even more important for healthy growth."

A 35-year-old patient with spinal pain said he renovated his office furniture and pillow in accordance with the suggestions, and his back pain had improved greatly.

"My body feels relaxed and my back is not so painful now," he said.

"With the expansion of our patient pool, the AI system will be smarter and more accurate," He added.

Experts said they plan to cooperate with the educational authority to offer suggestions on student desks and chairs and team up with companies to develop more spine-friendly furniture.

AI simplifies data analysis, offers suggestions to improve posture
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The AI system gives suggestions for placement of the patient's pillow and the hardness of the mattress in line with individual spinal conditions.

AI simplifies data analysis, offers suggestions to improve posture
Ti Gong

The AI system gives individualized suggestion on the most ergonomic chair, desk, and pillow height; and mattress firmness.

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