In a new contract with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida State University’s High-Performance Materials Institute is developing the next generation of prosthetic limbs for veteran amputees.
The 2-year project is aimed at addressing the shortcomings of current prosthetic socket systems through the development, testing and delivery of Socket Optimized for Comfort with Advanced Technology (SOCAT) prototypes. The SOCAT project will feature prototypes with a combination of advanced composite materials and technology, such as auxetic materials and carbon nanotube buckypaper. These components will be used to enable an intelligent prosthetic socket system that monitors the socket environment and self-adjusts to provide new levels of comfort, according to a press release. Pressure, temperature and moisture will also be recorded by the system and wirelessly transmitted to orthotic and prosthetic practitioners to facilitate better patient care.
“Despite the advances made in prosthetics over the years, the socket continues to be a major source of discomfort for our amputees due to issues arising from poor fit, elevated temperatures and moisture accumulation,” Changchun Zeng,PhD,assistant professor at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering, stated in the release. “These adverse conditions effectively limit the basic activities of amputees and can greatly diminish their quality of life. This award gives us the opportunity to tackle those problems so our veteran amputees can live better, more fulfilling lives.”