Design of semi-rigid wearable devices based on skin strain analysis.

Research paper by Jorge J Barrios-Muriel, Francisco F Romero, F J FJ Alonso, D R DR Salgado

Indexed on: 22 Jul '18Published on: 22 Jul '18Published in: Journal of biomechanical engineering


Nowadays, both usability and comfort play a key role in the development of medical and wearable products. When designing any device that is in contact with the human body, the mechanical behaviour of the embraced soft tissue must be known. The unavoidable displacement of the soft tissue during motion may lead to discomfort adn, thus, the withdrawal of the wearable product. This work presents a new methodology to design and test a wearable device based on the measurement of the dynamic skin strain field. Furthermore, from this field, the anatomical lines with minimum strain (Lines of non extension, LoNEs) are calculated to design the structural parts of the wearable device. Whith this new criteria, the resulting product is not only optimized to reduce the friction in skin-device interface, but fully personalized to the patient's morphology and motion. The methodology is applied to the design of an ankle-foot wearable orthosis for subjects with ankle dorsiflexors muscles weakness due to nervous system disorders. The results confirm that the use of LoNEs may benefit the design of products with a high interaction with the skin.