New project combines smart textiles with cutting edge technology to improve usability for prosthetic limb users

dsc_3162smallMany prosthetic limb users experience problems related to prosthetic socket fit and phantom limb pain. The use of prosthetic socks can reduce discomfort from wearing a prosthetic limb. Electrodes integrated in the sock can be used to pick up muscle activity signals to control a virtual arm in phantom limb pain therapy. As no two residual limbs are exactly the same, a mass-produced sock won´t fit everyone.

Li Guo, Smart Textiles Borås University

Li Guo, Smart Textiles Borås University

The MedTech West associated researcher Li Guo from Smart Textiles at the University of Borås has received a grant from The Knowledge Foundation for investigating textile methods to address these problems. The project, ongoing for two years, aims to develop smart textile solutions to improve user comfort by developing a personalized prosthetic sock.

– If the prosthesis is uncomfortable, the person won´t wear it, says Li Guo. Smart textiles enable the design and production of a functional textile interface between the residual limb and the socket of the prosthetic device to improve wearability and comfort.

– Both from a MedTech West and a personal point of view, this is very inspiring as this project continues the long tradition in outstanding prosthetic research collaborations that started between Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Chalmers in the late sixties. Personally, I caught my first glimpse of natural control of artificial limbs at the Department of Applied Electronics during my first week as a Chalmers student in September 1976, This made such an impression on me, that I decided to pursue a career in biomedical engineering, says Leif Sandsjö, researcher at MedTech West and the university of Borås. Forty years later the team at the University of Borås can add to this strong line of research by contributing textile technology solutions addressing problems encountered in everyday use of today’s prostheses.

The project will combine cutting edge technology with smart textiles, and, in addition to the University of Borås, the knowledge of the three industrial partners Integrum AB, Bola AB and Lindhe Xtend AB.

The Knowledge Foundation is the research financier for universities with the task of strengthening Sweden’s competitiveness and ability to create value. The Foundation supports research that is conducted at Sweden’s new universities, provided that industry provides a matching amount and actively participates in order to achieve development there as well.