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      Predictive prosthetic socket design: part 2—generating person-specific candidate designs using multi-objective genetic algorithms


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          In post-amputation rehabilitation, a common goal is to return to ambulation using a prosthetic limb, suspended by a customised socket. Prosthetic socket design aims to optimise load transfer between the residual limb and mechanical limb, by customisation to the user. This is a time-consuming process, and with the increase in people requiring these prosthetics, it is vital that these personalised devices can be produced rapidly while maintaining excellent fit, to maximise function and comfort. Prosthetic sockets are designed by capturing the residual limb’s shape and applying a series of geometrical modifications, called rectifications. Expert knowledge is required to achieve a comfortable fit in this iterative process. A variety of rectifications can be made, grouped into established strategies [e.g. in transtibial sockets: patellar tendon bearing (PTB) and total surface bearing (TSB)], creating a complex design space. To date, adoption of advanced engineering solutions to support fitting has been limited. One method is numerical optimisation, which allows the designer a number of likely candidate solutions to start the design process. Numerical optimisation is commonly used in many industries but not prevalent in the design of prosthetic sockets. This paper therefore presents candidate shape optimisation methods which might benefit the prosthetist and the limb user, by blending the state of the art from prosthetic mechanical design, surrogate modelling and evolutionary computation. The result of the analysis is a series of prosthetic socket designs that preferentially load and unload the pressure tolerant and intolerant regions of the residual limb. This spectrum is bounded by the general forms of the PTB and TSB designs, with a series of variations in between that represent a compromise between these accepted approaches. This results in a difference in pressure of up to 31 kPa over the fibula head and 14 kPa over the residuum tip. The presented methods would allow a trained prosthetist to rapidly assess these likely candidates and then to make final detailed modifications and fine-tuning. Importantly, insights gained about the design should be seen as a compliment, not a replacement, for the prosthetist’s skill and experience. We propose instead that this method might reduce the time spent on the early stages of socket design and allow prosthetists to focus on the most skilled and creative tasks of fine-tuning the design, in face-to-face consultation with their client.

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          Development and validation of a 3D-printed interfacial stress sensor for prosthetic applications.

          A novel capacitance-based sensor designed for monitoring mechanical stresses at the stump-socket interface of lower-limb amputees is described. It provides practical means of measuring pressure and shear stresses simultaneously. In particular, it comprises of a flexible frame (20 mm × 20 mm), with thickness of 4mm. By employing rapid prototyping technology in its fabrication, it offers a low-cost and versatile solution, with capability of adopting bespoke shapes of lower-limb residua. The sensor was first analysed using finite element analysis (FEA) and then evaluated using lab-based electromechanical tests. The results validate that the sensor is capable of monitoring both pressure and shear at stresses up to 350 kPa and 80 kPa, respectively. A post-signal processing model is developed to induce pressure and shear stresses, respectively. The effective separation of pressure and shear signals can be potentially advantageous for sensor calibration in clinical applications. The sensor also demonstrates high linearity (approx. 5-8%) and high pressure (approx. 1.3 kPa) and shear (approx. 0.6 kPa) stress resolution performance. Accordingly, the sensor offers the potential for exploitation as an assistive tool to both evaluate prosthetic socket fitting in clinical settings and alert amputees in home settings of excessive loading at the stump-socket interface, effectively preventing stump tissue breakdown at an early stage.
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            State-of-the-art research in lower-limb prosthetic biomechanics-socket interface: a review.

            Scientific studies have been conducted to quantify attributes that may be important in the creation of more functional and comfortable lower-limb prostheses. The prosthesis socket, a human-machine interface, has to be designed properly to achieve satisfactory load transmission, stability, and efficient control for mobility. The biomechanical understanding of the interaction between prosthetic socket and the residual limb is fundamental to such goals. The purpose of this paper is to review the recent research literature on socket biomechanics, including socket pressure measurement, friction-related phenomena and associated properties, computational modeling, and limb tissue responses to external mechanical loads and other physical conditions at the interface. There is no doubt that improved biomechanical understanding has advanced the science of socket fitting. However, the most recent advances in the understanding of stresses experienced at the residual limb have not yet led to enough clinical consensus that could fundamentally alter clinical practice. Efforts should be made to systematically identify the major discrepancies. Further research should be directed to address the critical controversies and the associated technical challenges. Developments should be guided to offer clinicians the quantification and visualization of the interaction between the residual limb and the prosthetic socket. An understanding of comfort and optimal load transfer as patterns of socket interface stress could culminate in socket design expert systems.
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              Quantitative sonoelastography for the in vivo assessment of skeletal muscle viscoelasticity.

              A novel quantitative sonoelastography technique for assessing the viscoelastic properties of skeletal muscle tissue was developed. Slowly propagating shear wave interference patterns (termed crawling waves) were generated using a two-source configuration vibrating normal to the surface. Theoretical models predict crawling wave displacement fields, which were validated through phantom studies. In experiments, a viscoelastic model was fit to dispersive shear wave speed sonoelastographic data using nonlinear least-squares techniques to determine frequency-independent shear modulus and viscosity estimates. Shear modulus estimates derived using the viscoelastic model were in agreement with that obtained by mechanical testing on phantom samples. Preliminary sonoelastographic data acquired in healthy human skeletal muscles confirm that high-quality quantitative elasticity data can be acquired in vivo. Studies on relaxed muscle indicate discernible differences in both shear modulus and viscosity estimates between different skeletal muscle groups. Investigations into the dynamic viscoelastic properties of (healthy) human skeletal muscles revealed that voluntarily contracted muscles exhibit considerable increases in both shear modulus and viscosity estimates as compared to the relaxed state. Overall, preliminary results are encouraging and quantitative sonoelastography may prove clinically feasible for in vivo characterization of the dynamic viscoelastic properties of human skeletal muscle.

                Author and article information

                Biomech Model Mechanobiol
                Biomech Model Mechanobiol
                Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                18 November 2019
                18 November 2019
                : 19
                : 4
                : 1347-1360
                [1 ]GRID grid.5491.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9297, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, , University of Southampton, ; Southampton, UK
                [2 ]GRID grid.5491.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9297, Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences, , University of Southampton, ; Southampton, UK
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                Funded by: EPSRC
                Award ID: EP/M508147/1
                Award ID: EP/M000303/1
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Royal Academy of Engineering
                Award ID: RF/130
                Award Recipient :
                Original Paper
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

                fea,amputation,residual limb,optimisation
                fea, amputation, residual limb, optimisation


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