Kirigami Sensor Patch Can Help During Physical Therapy

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December 16, 2019
Edward Smith

Kirigami Sensor Patch Can Help During Physical Therapy

Recently, researchers from the University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, announced they were developing a device called a Kirigami sensor patch. This sensor will help people who are recovering from an injury. Inspiration for this device was found following the devastating bicycle crash of a local professor. He suffered serious injuries in the collision. Physical therapy often plays a critical role in someone’s recovery following a serious accident, and this sensor should help medical professionals create an effective treatment plan.

Joint movements are complicated, and it can be challenging to help someone regain their baseline level of mobility and flexibility. This sensor patch hopes to change all of that. If successful, it might change the way physical therapists work with patients as they recover from a serious injury.

Improving Physical Therapy Treatment Routines

Without a doubt, technology has changed the way the medical field works; however, physical therapists often still design exercise programs by hand. If someone suffers a joint injury in an accident, such as in the shoulder or knee, the goal is to bring that person’s range of motion back to baseline. The physical therapist needs to know what the “baseline” is. Often, the therapist will measure this range of motion in terms of degrees using a protractor, just like the ones from childhood math classes.

This method of measurement is prone to significant errors that can impact someone’s recovery process. Furthermore, many people will perform exercises at home as part of their treatment routine. Unfortunately, the measurements taken with a protractor cannot be taken at home. This makes it hard for someone to track their progress. Surely, there must be a better way.

The Goal of the Kirigami Sensor Patch

The goal of the Kirigami sensor patch is to correct these problems. The idea is to use electronic sensors that can accurately detect and measure someone’s range of motion. This patch has been designed to work for shoulders; however, it can be applied to other joints, such as elbows, knees, hips, and ankles, in the future. Initially, the design encountered some challenges. It is difficult to design electronics that can attach smoothly to a curved surface. The researchers quickly overcame this challenge in the form of a wearable patch.

The name for the sensor was derived from a Japanese art form called Kirigami. In this art form, three-dimensional structures are made from cut pieces of paper. Given the appearance of the sensor as a flat, yet curved device, the name is appropriate. The sensor patch is cut using a laser and is no thicker than a piece of paper. The device looks like a ring of concentric ovals, similar to the elevation contours on a geographic map. The concentric rings allow the sensors to function accurately without stressing or damaging the delicate electronic equipment.

Future Directions for the Sensor Patch

The team has already achieved something called proof-of-concept, where the sensors functioned accurately. The goal is to manufacture these patches in a rapid, cost-effective manner. The goal is to make these patches for less than $10.

If the patches can accurately measure someone’s range of motion, their progression through a physical therapy treatment regimen can be accurately tracked. It will be exciting to watch this device progress through the next few stages of approval.

Stockton Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer. This novel Kirigami sensor patch can help people who are going through physical therapy. Individuals who have required physical therapy following an injury due to the negligence of another person or entity should call me at (800) 404-5400 and/or (209) 227-1931 to receive free, friendly legal guidance and advice.

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