Cal Poly SLO and SSUP Team Up to Revolutionize Prosthetic Fit for Amputees

Cal Poly SLO structural engineering Professor Long Wang has embarked on an innovative project in collaboration with Sony’s Semiconductor Solutions Group, aiming to revolutionize the fit of prosthetics for amputees, using the Spresense board.

Addressing the critical issues of discomfort and potential injury that amputees often face with ill-fitting prosthetics, Wang and his interdisciplinary student team are leading the way in developing a solution. Their project focuses on creating an innovative and cost-effective wearable sensor system that aims to monitor the pressure exerted between the limb and prosthetic socket in real-time. Such immediate feedback allows for quick adjustments, significantly enhancing comfort for the wearer.

By minimizing the risk of tissue damage, the initiative promises to improve prosthetics' functionality and elevate the quality of life for amputees, making daily activities more comfortable and less hazardous.

“One of the exciting aspects is the societal impact, as this device could benefit so many amputees by enhancing their quality of life. This work has the potential to make a real difference,” Wang said.

The system will use Sony’s Spresense Microcontroller board and other sensors for seamless operation. After gathering data in lab trials, the board will process it, allowing users to get updates on their prosthetic fit via a smartphone app. Sony’s Spresense boards, combined with wearable sensors, will measure pressure on residual limbs against the prosthetic socket. This will help users make informed decisions about their prosthetic fit.

“Currently, we lack real-time sensing solutions, which this technology aims to provide,” Wang said.

Given the project’s complex requirements, Wang assembled an interdisciplinary team that includes two students from biomedical engineering, two from computer science, and one from computer engineering. One is Max Lewter, who has concentrated on configuring circuits to integrate with Sony’s microcontroller.

“I was excited by the prospect of tackling a complex problem with the potential to aid people. Our goal is to reach a stage where our primary focus is deploying machine-learning algorithms on the board”, Lewter said.

“Expanding medical care is a crucial field, and I’m hopeful we can make it happen,” he added.

Leveraging his expertise in sensing engineering, Wang’s proposal was recently accepted into Sony’s Sensing Solution University Collaboration Program, and phase one of the project is scheduled to conclude in October 2024. This initiative seeks to foster innovative research partnerships between Sony and academia, focusing on advancing sensing solutions.

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