(756g) Flexible Resistive Based Temperature Sensor to Detect Heat and Sweat Inside the Sockets of Prosthetics

Authors: 
Blasdel, N. J. - Presenter, The University of Akron


The
most current estimate states there are approximately 1 in 190 persons living in
the United States with major limb-loss while the rate of amputations completed increases
each year. This necessitates an importance for understanding both quality of
life rated (QOLR) issues and options to remediate prevalent problems. There are
a number of important quality of life factors affecting people living with the
loss of a limb and the number one issue is ambulation or replacing the
functionality of the lost limb. Throughout time we have developed many
different styles of prosthetics to fill this deficiency, while the socket style
prosthetic has evolved to be one of the most common solutions. These socket
style prosthetics facilitate a need to replace a missing limb, but with this
comes problems associated with the use of the device. Proper fitting is
important, along with proper care of the device and residual limb. These are
issues that can be controlled by the amputee. One major, currently
uncontrollable issue reported by amputees using socket style prosthesis is the combination
of heat and sweat inside the socket. This is troublesome for a residual limb,
because the socket can become hot and humid during even just regular use and
can cause a variety of dermatological conditions if proper care is not taken. The
major contributors to heat and sweat inside the socket are personal activity,
and socket and liner materials of construction. Socket and liner materials of
construction negatively affects the socket environment by inhibiting heat
transfer away from the residual limb and just ten minutes of walking can
increase the average residual limb temperature by 1.7¼C. A reduction in heat
transfer causes sweat inside the socket, which can create a moist, abrasive
environment between the skin and the sock or liner, coupled with pressure from
the prosthetic socket during use facilitates an uncomfortable environment with
the potential for sores, blisters, and rashes. The purpose of this presentation
is to discuss the feasibility of monitoring heat and sweat by using a sensing composite
made of nylon 6, carbon nanotubes, and polypyrrole. The sensing unit
incorporates a resistive device composed of the substrate, nylon nanofibers, the
bulk electron transport medium, carbon nanotubes, and the sensing layer, conductive
polypyrrole. This presentation describes the design and fabrication methods of
a working flexible temperature sensor. It illustrates how the fiber diameter, nanotube
loading, and polymerization scheme affects the sensor current response and it
will discuss the techniques used to analyze and verify the material.

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