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UD Student Invents Device To Help Cerebral Palsy Patients Sleep Comfortably

Ann Thompson
Spencer Janning's invention pulls apart and turns to keep the cerebral palsy patient comfortable while they toss and turn in bed. More importantly their hips and legs remain stable.

A University of Dayton student and Cincinnati Country Day graduate has come up with a way to make cerebral palsy patients comfortable and safe while they sleep.

When taking an innovation class, Spencer Janning, a UD senior mechanical and aerospace engineering major, first learned of a problem patients face. They need to wear a device overnight to prevent hip problems.  This keeps their legs from crossing. Most devices are rigid and don't allow patients to move.

Dayton-area teen Lianna Bryant was having so much trouble her mom asked the engineering class to come up with a better device.

"Part of the assignment was to come up with a new hip and knee abductor for her child that would prevent her daughter from scissoring and at the same time allow her to freely move her legs around," Janning says.

He invented the Freedom Brace, which he prints on a 3D printer and is now selling online. Janning demonstrates it in this video from Launch Dayton

Janning has a patent for the Freedom Brace, an FDA approved Class 1 medical device.

The University of Dayton provided some early seed money to Janning. Emily Fehrman-Cory is in charge of the UD incubator called Leonardo Enterprises.

"Spencer's invention is awesome," she says. "I know it had a huge impact for the original family that he designed it for but it's been very exciting to follow the progress." Fehrman-Cory says Janning has already been accepted into the Entrepreneurs Center in Dayton.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Janning has a patent - it runs in the family. His great uncle invented, among other things, those Christmas lights that stay on even when a bulb is burnt out.


Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.