Special Issue "Increasing Prosthetic Comfort through Sensor Technology"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (16 April 2021).
Interests: system safety; system/software engineering; empirical software engineering; engineering education. Current work is focused on support environments for the development of complex systems and systemic safety standards in domains relevant to embedded systems.
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Limb amputations cause serious physical disabilities that compromise the quality of life of many people around the globe. The World Health Organization estimates that there are ~40 million amputees in the world. This number is expected to increase, due to an aging population and a corresponding higher incidence of diabetes and vascular diseases.
Limb prostheses offer a solution to reduce the negative impact of such disabilities, attempting to restore a normal functionality and amputee autonomy, as much as possible. With an average prosthetic use of 10 hours per day, the comfort from the socket is the most important factor among artificial limb users. However, to achieve functional and comfortable prostheses, great attention must be given to the socket design. A suitable socket must ensure efficient fitting, appropriate load transmission, stability, and control. It often constitutes a key factor for the success or failure of the prosthesis itself.
At present, despite some important recent advances in prosthetics, 35.3% amputees still reject their prostheses or show a rather low satisfaction level due to comfort issues. This is mainly due to socket-related issues, such as poor comfort, reduced biomechanical functionality, and hampered control. In addition, skin lesions occur in the 63%–82% of lower limb amputees, thus causing a prosthesis abandon rate that is around 25%–57%. Thus, there is a continuing healthcare need for an improved prosthetic socket provision technique. The problems related to socket design are a result of current techniques requiring a skilled prosthetist to determine, e.g., the load-bearing capability of the stump using a “touch and feel” technique without quantitative calculations.
However, recent advances in sensor technology are promising to quickly change the practice of prosthetists in this field by providing quantitative, real-time data for the analysis of socket comfort and functionality. As a first step, prosthetists will benefit from real-time 3D pressure maps when fitting patients with new sockets. Combined with advances in Internet-of-Things technology, a natural extension of this support is the online analysis of comfort, notifying prosthetists and patients of the need to replace a socket. In combination with new advanced 3D-printed materials, whose shape can be controlled after printing, modifications to sockets could even happen without the patient having to visit a health care facility.
This Special Issue invites papers pertaining to state-of-the-art sensor technology and theory, which promises to be of use in the MedTec field of prosthetics, including but not limited to:
- Innovative sensor systems capable of providing a 3D pressure map in real-time for better prosthetic fit;
- Techniques for low power processing and weight decrease of multiple sensor arrays;
- Sensor design and packaging to robustly and reliably handle sensors in environments that can experience high temperature, moisture levels and repetitive pressure patterns, while requiring high immunity to EMI;
- Biomechanical analytics models which match sensor input to the interaction of residual tissue and sockets;
- Artificial intelligence algorithms to identify patterns in sensor input indicating patient discomfort in regard to prosthetics use.
Dr. Fredrik Asplund
Dr. Matthias Becker
Dr. Klas Brinkfeldt
Prof. De-Jiu Chen
Manuscript Submission Information
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- physical sensors
- smart/intelligent sensors
- sensor devices
- Internet of Things
- human–computer interaction
- advanced materials for sensing