Evanescent Wave Coupling Sensor for Shear/Pressure Measurement

Introduction Lower limb complications associated with diabetes include the development of plantar ulcers that can lead to infection and subsequent amputation. Several authors have postulated that shear stress is an important component of ulcer development. While it is known from force plate analyses that there are medial/lateral and anterior /posterior shear components of the ground reaction force, there is little known about the actual distribution of this force during daily activities, nor about the role that shear plays in causing plantar ulceration. Additionally, there are currently no flexible high-resolution sensors capable of measuring the distribution of both shear and pressure stress at the plantar surface. Technology description Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a directional sensitive pressure and shear stress sensor using evanescent wave coupling sensor. The pressure/shear sensor consists of an array of optical fibers laying in perpendicular rows and columns separated by elastomeric pads. A map of pressure and shear stress is constructed based on observed light coupling through the light intensity of the physical deformation of the two adjacent perpendicular fibers. Based on the stress information, an appropriate actuation is applied to relieve the area of stress. The sensor/actuator system can be made thin enough to wrap conformally around a curved structure. The potential applications are in the areas of robotics, infrastructure, and biophysical structure. Business opportunity In the United States, 6% of the population has diabetes, either diagnosed or undiagnosed. More than 60,000 amputations of the lower extremities are performed every year due to complications arising from diabetes mellitus. Studies have shown that foot ulcers precede amputation in 71 to 84% of the cases. Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45 to 85 percent. Intellectual Property Position This technology is available for licensing. For more information on this technology contact:
Jim Roberts Business Development Officer roberts4@u.washington.edu 206-616-1097

Type of Offer: Licensing

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