Prosthetic Leg Connector
Kelowna, BC, Canada
The Medical winner was simply named Prosthetic Leg Connector. Its simplistic name belies the amount of thought and care that went into the creation of a device to replace the traditional silicone rubber “sock” that is pulled very snugly over a residual limb before attaching an artificial leg.
Dave King said: “I designed this for my dad. He got MRSA, lost part of his leg, and needed a below knee leg prosthesis. It took almost two years to build up his strength and get used to the pain of pulling the thick silicone sock over his stump before he was able to walk with a cane.” This device replaces the silicone sock and allows for easier application and more comfort.
This design consists of a fluid-filled donut-shaped chamber on the bottom of a specially designed sock with several vertical expansion chambers. When standing, pressure is placed on the socket compressing the donut/toroid, which pumps fluid into the expansion chambers to grip the limb. When the weight is removed (as when walking or sitting), the fluid returns to the chamber and the grip loosens.
King explained, “A new amputee goes through a long course of multiple fittings in order to get the leg to fit right and be able to walk on it. In the early stages, there can be changes in size and shape of the stump. As there is no feedback from nerves in the foot, it may feel to the patient like his upper leg is balancing on a stick or stepping off into mid air.”
The expansion chambers create increased comfort for the wearer, a pleasant massaging action, and tactile feedback to let the user know when he is putting weight on the limb. They also reduce chafing of the residual limb caused by the friction that holds silicone liners in place.
“Since my dad passed away and could not take advantage of this, I’d love to see other people benefit,” King said. “He and the people at the hospital helping him were my inspiration.”
For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com .