KCF Awarded SBIR for Prosthetic Socket Monitoring Project

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Sensing Technology Project Looks to Improve Residual Limb Health for Amputees

KCF Technologies has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for a project to improve sensing technologies used to monitor socket fit and residual limb health in amputees.

Today's prostheses allow amputees to return to normal life, but they still bring inconveniences and risks. Improper socket fit can cause discomfort, instability, and risk of tissue damage that could lead to infection and hospitalization. These problems could be minimized by using sensors to monitor for proper fit and indicators of health in the amputee's residual limb. Present monitoring technologies are bulky, rigid, and quite limited in what they monitor, which makes perfecting socket fit very difficult.

"Currently, the only way to monitor the fit of a prosthetic socket in the clinic is to wait until the patient reports pain or has skin breakdown issues, and/or to take a simple circumference measurement of the limb at periodic follow up appointments. This poses a high risk of costly secondary complications and potentially causing the patient not to be able to wear the prosthesis," said Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics' Clinical Outcome and Research Officer, Brian Kaluf. "…[Small, wireless sensors] will potentially maximize the function of advanced prosthetic limbs and ensure that the device fits the patient's limb and life best."

The solution being developed by KCF Technologies will include a new socket sensor system employing KCF's existing wireless technology along with an array of thin, flexible, ultra-low power sensors to measure skin pressures and temperatures and to track other aspects of limb health.

"This project has the potential to greatly improve the lives of amputees," said project lead Greg Harkay. "The low-profile, flexible sensors will prevent discomfort while providing data to monitor limb health."

KCF Technologies is a dynamic technology company that develops and commercializes embedded intelligence solutions for industry and the military. The company vision is to be a leader in the development of federally-funded technologies and bridge the gap to successful commercial products by establishing strategic partnerships.

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David Shannon
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