WPI Improving Prosthetic Technology

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), a NEC member, has partnered with Holliston, MA-based manufacturer Liberating Technologies to develop wireless sensors for upper-limb prosthetics. The project is funded through a $400,000 grant to WPI from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Ted Clancy, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI, and Debra Latour, a professor of occupational therapy at Western New England University, will lead the research project alongside Todd Farrell of Liberating Technologies. The project comes in response to the recent shift in the prosthetic field towards osseointegration. Instead of attaching the prosthetic limb with a traditional molded plastic socket, osseointegration involves placing a surgically implanted rod into the bone to attach the device. Under this increasingly popular technique, the prosthetic’s wired sensors often hang loose and become caught on objects. To address this issue, Professor Clancy’s research team has proposed a “silver dollar-sized wireless sensor” to be developed and placed on the individual’s remaining arm muscles. “The idea is to create a standardized system that is more space efficient and adaptable,” said Professor Clancy.

“Having the opportunity to work with WPI innovators on cutting-edge technology for a unique population is exciting, and opens up possibilities,” Professor Latour said in a statement.

The New England Council commends WPI for their innovative efforts to improve prosthetic technology.

Read more in the Worcester Business Journal.

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