A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore has invented a novel sock that can help to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Using soft actuators, the device mimics the tentacle movements of corals.
The robotic sock emulates natural lower leg muscle contractions, thereby promoting blood circulation throughout the wearer’s body. In addition, the device can potentially enable the patient’s lower leg movements to be monitored to improve therapy outcomes.
By integrating the actuators with a sock and the use of a programmable pneumatic pump-valve control system, the invention creates the desired robot-assisted ankle joint motions to facilitate blood flow in the leg.
The sock complements conventional ankle therapy exercises that therapists perform on patients, thereby optimizing therapy time and productivity. In addition, the sock can be worn for prolonged durations to provide robot-assisted therapy, on top of the therapist-assisted sessions. The sock is also embedded with sensors to track the ankle joint angle, allowing the patient’s ankle motion to be monitored for better treatment.