The Prosthetist’s Assistant

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Group Design Project
Version 2.0: TouchFit Glove. To develop a clinical device to measure soft tissue properties in amputated limbs, in order to aid the current process which is subjective
Group Members
Hannah Jones, Jonathan Knapp, Lisa Phillimore, David Schult

Supervisors
Dr. Alex Dickinson, Dr. Bram Sengers

Approximately 6,000 lower leg amputations are performed annually in the UK. A successful lower limb prosthesis is largely dependent on the fit of the socket which connects the prosthesis to the residual limb. Prosthetic sockets are currently designed and manufactured by hand. The process, which is currently performed by a prosthetist is subjective and almost artistic in nature, and there is a need to perform more quantified measurements of the socket site.

Previous work has been carried out at the University of Southampton, in an MSc project, in producing an indenter that can measure the properties of the soft tissue of the limb. This group design project builds on that work and aims to further the design of such a device.

A number of different design concepts were fabricated and the positive and negative attributes were evaluated through a design matrix, weighted and scored individually by each group member. A glove design was chosen as it was the most suited to the application. This evaluation was also reinforced by an independent company that provide the prosthetic services, who would benefit from such a device.
Through the use of additive manufacturing processes, fuse deposition modelling for prototyping and stereo-lithography to create the final product. After initially choosing and calibrating sensors with the ability to measure joint flexion and force, a GUI was created utilising the MATLAB software. This was designed to be both simple and easily comprehendible for the prosthetist to use.

TouchFit Glove, provided challenges in all areas of operation, with improvements suggested such as the addition of further modules, the use of a printed circuit board (PCB) and transferring the software into a standalone product. The TouchFit Glove is a great platform for future work and development to take place. It holds significant potential for changing the way prosthetic sockets are designed and developed

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