Smart Prosthetic Sockets
The goal of this research is to develop smart prosthetic sockets that can easily accommodate for volume fluctuations over localized regions of a residual limb. The quality of fit between a prosthetic socket and residual limb of a transtibial amputee changes over time due to volume change of the residual limb. It has been reported that the volume of the residual limb can change between +7% and -11% over the course of a day and a volume change as small as 3% to 5% can cause difficulty and pain for the amputee. This change in volume, and the resulting change in quality of fit, can irritate and/or damage the residual limb’s skin and soft tissue, which can lead to blisters, cysts, edema, skin irritation, and dermatitis.
New prosthetic sockets having f2mc wafers integrated into the inner walls of the composite sockets have been developed in the laboratory. The f2mc wafers use fluidic flexible matrix composite technology integrated into a thin wafer device that can achieve significant changes in thickness. The wafers are able to achieve 9 mm of displacement in the thickness direction when pressurized at 70 psi and can achieve up to 275 N when blocked.