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Building a frame capable of applying controlled mechanical extension to long bones
Group Members
Oliver Costain, Rebecca Jayne-Coupe, Emma Newman, Olivia Owen, Oliver Stocks
Supervisors
Professor Martin Browne, Dr Andy Taylor
Supporters
Aurora Medical
This project has designed and built an automated fracture fixation device that corrects lower limb deformities and reconstructs bone following a traumatic injury. Building on a previous project, the principle innovations include a redesign of a fracture fixation frame, to reduce the size and weight, and the development and testing of a novel technique to monitor the condition of the bone at the fracture site. Automated frames have gained attention from orthopaedic clinicians with their potential to reduce treatment times and lower the pain experienced by patients. The design has integrated motors into the struts, to produce a lightweight frame capable of self-adjustment. Informed by orthopaedic surgeons, we used machined aluminium components, an inline gearing mechanism and a custom circuit board to make the frame as compact as possible. A dual-accelerometer technique was developed and tested to monitor the frequency response of bone, to aid clinicians in determining when a patient’s fracture has healed. The technique used both Piezo and MEMs transducers to measure vibrations transmitted across the fracture site. Performing adjustments according to the condition of the bone, rather than a predefined schedule, will remove patient non- compliance. This project has advanced the treatment of complex and non-union correction, by progressing towards an independent, automated system.
External fixation hexapod – strut.