Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Graduate Engineers Design A 'Smart' Ankle Brace To Reduce Falls Of The Elderly

Date:
June 16, 2005
Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
Graduate engineering students working with Thomas Andriacchi, professor of mechanical engineering and orthopedic surgery, recently developed a "smart" ankle brace for the elderly to correct imbalances and prevent falling.

One in three individuals over the age of 65 will fall in the next year. One fall in 200 will result in a broken hip. One-half of seniors who break a hip never regain their full degree of mobility, and one-quarter die within six months. Falls account for $26 billion in medical costs each year.

Graduate engineering students working with Thomas Andriacchi, professor of mechanical engineering and orthopedic surgery, recently developed a "smart" ankle brace for the elderly to correct imbalances and prevent falling. The Stanford Biodesign Innovation Program sponsored the interdisciplinary project.

Students Tim Ramsey, Ryan McDonnell, Buzzy Bonneau, Tejas Mazmudar, Jeremy Dittmer and Surag Mantri started working on the project during Winter Quarter 2005 as part of a two-quarter course, Medical Device Design, taught by Andriacchi. On the first day of class, students heard from researchers about critical technological needs in the health care industry. Professor Paul Yock (Medicine and, by courtesy, Mechanical Engineering) and Ken Martin (Biodesign) proposed the need for a device to reduce falls in the elderly.

"The ability to detect and prevent falls would not only cause a significant cost savings in health care, but would greatly improve the comfort and lifestyle of this growing segment of the population [the elderly]," wrote the research team in a comprehensive 89-page report they compiled for their project.

Falls among the elderly are often due to decreasing proprioception--the awareness of your body's relationship to its surroundings. Studies have found that sensitivity to foot position declines as people age. The researchers conceived that a device that could help simulate this lost sensitivity could help individuals maintain their balance without relying on cumbersome support devices, such as walkers, or ineffective devices, such as canes.

Their invention is an ankle brace containing a smart chip that continuously monitors the roll of the ankle. If the chip detects a roll that is greater than normal, it provides a correctional vibration. This vibration helps the wearer change position or shift balance to avoid a fall in much the same way that sensory nerves provide correctional feedback to the brain.

"The development of the device is still at a preliminary stage and more testing, research and funds need to be invested before commercialization is possible," said Surag Mantri, a bioengineering master's student working on the project. His team hopes that the brace will eventually become available to all people over the age of 65, but they plan to target high-risk groups first: diabetics with peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson's patients and people with high degrees of proprioceptive loss.

More information: http://innovation.stanford.edu/jsp/index_flash.jsp


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University. "Graduate Engineers Design A 'Smart' Ankle Brace To Reduce Falls Of The Elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616062949.htm>.
Stanford University. (2005, June 16). Graduate Engineers Design A 'Smart' Ankle Brace To Reduce Falls Of The Elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616062949.htm
Stanford University. "Graduate Engineers Design A 'Smart' Ankle Brace To Reduce Falls Of The Elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616062949.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins