Novel Methods of Creating a True Smart Structure for Stress Monitoring and Active Mechanical Support on Footwear
Introduction Investigation of strain sensing has been an active research area for the past 60 years and has the potential to affect a large number of industries and disciplines. The characteristics of all strain sensors depend, to some degree, on the properties of the deformable contact materials. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on physical properties and manufacturing concerns. Technology description Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a polymer based capacitive shear/pressure sensor using flexible silicone or epoxy resin. An advantage of this technology is that is requires less precision in construction and the detectors are not integrated. The polymer based material also allows for a wide range of applications beyond the capability of solid state based sensors, including the ability to conform to any structure and ease in maintenance and operation. The silicone rubber based material is biocompatible so the sensor can be embedded into areas such as prosthetic sockets, shoe insoles, seat saddles and sport handles. Cost reduction using the proposed materials may allow for the creation of a disposable product. Business opportunity This invention can be used for finger print detection and sensing the shear/pressure level around the cup area of a prosthesis. In addition, this technology has many potential applications for specialized footwear such as shoes for diabetics, shoes for balance improvement, robotic shoes for lower limb complications and sports shoes. Intellectual Property Position This technology is available for licensing.
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