California-based Biodesigns Inc. recently announced it was awarded a $999,822 firm fixed price Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create a socket diagnostic tool for the manufacture and fitment of custom sockets for upper-limb prostheses.
This is the company’s first contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). According to a company press release, Randall Alley, CP, BSc, FAAOP, Biodesigns CEO, previously served as a consultant on DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program.
The project is meant to provide a solution for upper-limb amputees with complexities that can create socket fitting issues, such as muscle bundles, neuromas, bone spurs and skin conditions. Alley and colleagues will work diagnostic tools to improve socket fittings and performance.
Alley will use Biodesigns’ HiFi Interface and HiFi Imager System as platform technology for the project. The interface system is meant to replicate the stability of an osseointegration procedure, while the HiFi is a noninvasive socket solution meant to capture and control the residual bone through an alternating system of compression and release. Alley uses a casting and scanning machine he has patented to provide compression while accepting feedback from patients to dictate the fit of the prosthesis.
“By displacing the soft tissue so there is less of a buffer between the bone and the interface wall in the compression zones, there is less unwanted motion of the bone,” Alley said in the press release. “This reduced bone motion results in a much more dynamically responsive prosthesis that feels lighter, offers much greater stability and security, wastes less energy, and with the incredible proprioception it provides, patients also report feeling connected to their prosthesis.”