Constantinos Mavroidis, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and Richard Ranky, ME’09, doctoral student in mechanical engineering

Mavroidis’ Biomedical Mechatronics Lab is collaborating with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to work on custom medical braces with self-diagnostic capabilities.

With grants from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, Mavroidis and Ranky have designed new sensors that can be embedded into medical devices personalized for an individual patient’s anatomy. These smart sensors can be built into an ankle-foot orthosis that monitors rehabilitation progress in stroke victims, and they can diagnose and predict when such a device will fail.

In the past, replacing an orthosis meant putting a halt to rehab while a cast of the foot and ankle was made and a new device was fabricated. Mavroidis’ sensors tell of impending breakdown, allowing for the personalized device to be replaced before it fails.

In addition, his team has digitized the entire process of creating ankle-foot orthoses by using additive-manufacturing technology that makes 3-D solid objects from a digital file. The result is rapid creation of a new custom embedded-sensor replacement, affording uninterrupted rehabilitation for patients.