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How to help heal an injured joint
Date:3/18/2011

nly ever been used in industry up to now. The central question was how to place the sensors onto the human body without inconveniencing the patient. The answer, researchers found, lay in using lightweight materials and miniaturizing the sensors, which fall into two categories: angular measurement systems that are based on magnetic principles; and acceleration and rate-of-rotation sensors.

Depending on the injury and treatment, the system not only records the joint's range of movement but can also determine to what degree it rotates and what forces are acting upon it. The sensors observe movements and store data non-stop. This allows doctors to observe how the knee's range of movement changes over time, so they can recognize trends and, where necessary, adjust the treatment. What is more, the various fittings for the sensor systems have been designed by the researchers not to restrict freedom of movement in any way, meaning patients do not even notice that their joint is being monitored.

"We would like to apply the measurement of human kinematics to other parts of the body in future," says Kleiner, and the Fraunhofer researchers have already set their sights on the shoulder and the hips. However, these joints are even more demanding because the system will have to measure their movement about all three axes. To achieve this, engineers are coupling 3-D sensor systems with appropriate software. Visitors to the MEDTEC Europe trade show (March 22-24, 2011, Hall 6, Booth 6211) will have a chance to see the experts demonstrating how mobile joint monitoring works.


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Contact: Bernhard Kleiner
bernhard.kleiner@ipa.fraunhofer.de
49-711-970-3718
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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