After a broad research and identifying the target audience we want to help assist, we began the ideation process, focusing on brainstorming for both the design and technological integration aspects. Through this creative phase, we generated various ideas to develop a solution that effectively addresses the identified problem.
We are aiming to create an orthopedic device with a sensor system that assists users when receiving rehabilitation. We are focusing on developing a device that will be able to give valuable feedback and support to the individual.
In order to enhance stability and movement ability in the user, we decided that we wanted to create an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) since it already provides the user with support, a more fluid and coordinated movement pattern and reduced reliance on assistance from others.
Visual representation of the AFO through sketches:
In order to enhance the level of assistance provided, we want to integrate specific sensors into the AFO. These sensors will contribute to facilitating the user's rehabilitation process. The proposed sensors to be incorporated are the following:
- TENS Therapy: It is used for the stimulation of the muscles and it allows to make movements, delivering electrical stimulation.
- EMG Sensors: They can measure muscle activity and it allows to evaluate muscle response to therapy or physical training, as well as for biofeedback to see improvement throughout the rehabilitation process.
- LED Lights: They will help to obtain visual feedback of the sensor activity in the AFO.
In a potential future scenario, our vision is for the device to operate wirelessly, and for the feedback generated by the EMG sensors to be transmitted and accessed through a dedicated mobile app. However, in the current stage, our focus is on creating a prototype to validate and verify the functionality of the sensors, ensuring they perform their intended purpose effectively. For the development a functional prototype, we will include the following components:
- PC Board: It will help to connect the sensores previously mentioned.
- 2 Switches: ON/OFF and for receiving the feedback of the received stimulation.