Health & Wellbeing

"Smart" bandage being made to monitor strain on arthritic knees

"Smart" bandage being made to ...
A volunteer's knee is wired up with movement sensors, in order to train the algorithms that will be used by the bandage
A volunteer's knee is wired up with movement sensors, in order to train the algorithms that will be used by the bandage
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A volunteer's knee is wired up with movement sensors, in order to train the algorithms that will be used by the bandage
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A volunteer's knee is wired up with movement sensors, in order to train the algorithms that will be used by the bandage

The most common form of arthritis, arthrosis is caused by wear and tear on the cartilage in the joints. And while some exercise helps, too much just makes things worse. That's where a new "smart" knee bandage is designed to come in, as it will provide real-time joint strain readings.

Known as the Anthrokinemat, the device is being developed via a collaboration between Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the University of Bremen, bandage manufacturer Bauerfeind, and sensor technology company ITP.

An array of sensors throughout the wearable continuously monitors the user's knee movements. That data is analyzed in real time by an integrated microprocessor, which determines how much strain those movements are placing on the knee joint – this is made possible via machine learning-based algorithms, which were "trained" utilizing a database of knee movements and their corresponding strain levels.

If it's found that a given movement is producing enough strain to worsen the arthrosis damage, the bandage will wirelessly transmit an alert to an app on the user's smartphone.

The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Sensors. A functioning prototype is currently in the works.

Source: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

1 comment
piperTom
I'm pretty sure the optimal strain on the knee varies from person to person -- with elite runners on one end of the spectrum and my mom on the other. Hopefully, the Karlsruhe people will find a way to allow for this. Also, there is a huge problem with expense: if your ordinary runs-for-exercise person is going to use this, it can't be over US$100 or so.