A reference to research conducted by BU, in conjunction with a global supplier of prosthetic and orthotic products and services, Chas A. Blatchford & Sons, has been published in a leading engineering technology publication.
The Engineer, which focuses on news and features about emerging developments, innovations and applications in the technological environment, has featured the work of Professor Noroozi and his team. Professor Noroozi is Chair of Advanced Technology, and Director of the Design Simulation Research Centre at BU.
Working together with Chas A. Blatchford & Sons, Professor Noroozi and his team including Professor John Vinney, Dr Philip Sewell, and Dr. Stephen Andrews of Southmead Hospital’s Disablement Services Centre, intend to develop an intelligent composite socket to be used in the next generation of smart prosthetic limbs. The use of low weight/high strength materials, innovative sensor integration technology and a powerful assessment and graphical user interface design, combined with a passive feedback control mechanism will create a much needed and invaluable addition to the prosthetic industry.
The new product, which aims to be launched in due course, will revolutionise the current prosthetic limb fitting process as it is the first of its kind that will provide quantitative feedback during the fitting process. This data also provides real time data necessary for active fit corrections during the course of daily living. Most importantly, this information will help to develop a pain free prosthesis, which has a direct link to improvement in the quality of life for amputees.
Currently with each patient requiring between three to five NHS visits per year for adjustments and refits, the pain and costs incurred are substantial. The intelligent socket will reduce the number of appointments required for alterations and refits, thus reducing the cost to the NHS. This combined with reduction in pain and increase in comfort should substantially improve the quality of life for amputees, by enabling better social integration.
The technology developed by Professor Noroozi and his team has been researched by other industry experts for many years, but until now, with no realistic or functional resolutions to the problem. Chas A. Blatchford & Sons will be the only prosthetic limb producer in the world using this technology, providing them with a considerable competitive edge against international manufacturers, further demonstrating the high quality of research output from BU, transferable to external commercial organisations.