Virginia Tech receives funds to develop smart prosthetic sockets

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Researchers at Virginia Tech (VT) are recipients of funds to develop ways to improve the comfort of prosthetic sockets.

Researchers at Virginia Tech (VT) are recipients of funds to develop ways to improve the comfort of prosthetic sockets.

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Researchers at Virginia Tech (VT) are recipients of funds to develop ways to improve the comfort of prosthetic sockets.

Individuals with an amputation above the knee, which is called transfemoral amputation or below the knee, called transtibial amputation, find their comfort decreases as the day progresses due to volume loss in their amputated limb.

Several factors can impact the decrease of the residual limb, such as the amount of physical activity, hydration levels, and weight fluctuations, VT said.

The volume loss and the imperfect grip of the leg prosthetic, according to VT, can cause pain, skin irritations, and soft tissue injuries.

VT’s College of Engineering was awarded a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop smart prosthetic sockets.

In the three year grant, Professor Michael Madigan of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Associate Professor Michael Philen of the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering are working together with a team of students to develop new techniques and technologies to measure the volume change of the limb and it’s fit in the prosthetic socket.

The team will be also collaborating with experts in the private sector, such as Brian Kaluf of Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“This project will give amputees more control over their prosthetic sockets, and they will be able to recognize when their limb is slimming down throughout the day,” said Trevor LeMaster, who is one of the students who will be working on the development and a person with a transfemoral amputation.

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