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AI-powered smart prosthetic socket for thigh amputees

The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) has developed an innovative, customizable prosthetic socket that automatically fills the socket with air upon detecting the empty space inside of the socket in real time based on artificial intelligence.

The socket includes an inflatable air bladder that monitors pressure and maintains uniform pressure distribution while walking. The socket has three air bladders, a latching type 3-way pneumatic valve, and a portable control device. The controller uses a hysteresis control algorithm with a closed loop to keep pressure in the socket close to the initial set point.

The new technology can respond to up to 15% of changes in the volume of the amputated area in real time and minimizes the socket’s movement, thereby relieving pain in the affected area.

The proposed prosthesis was tested using a gait simulator, and the active volume compensation was successfully verified. Furthermore, results showed that even if the residual limb volume changed from -7% to +7%, the pressure inside the socket had a steady state error of less than 0.75%.

The intelligent socket can link with a smartphone app, allowing the patient to monitor the pressure inside the prosthetic socket in real time and adjust the injection and discharge of air manually or automatically. The technology is expected to improve the quality of life of prosthetic wearers.

Ref: Seo JH, Lee HJ, Seo DW, et al. A Prosthetic Socket with Active Volume Compensation for Amputated Lower Limb. Sensors. 2021;21(2):407. doi:

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