Knee replacement surgery, where a damaged, worn or diseased knee is replaced with an artificial joint, is the most common joint replacement procedure, with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons predicting by 2030 total knee replacement surgeries will grow by 673%. As these knee replacements can wear out within five to ten years innovation in this area is sorely needed. Now, a study from researchers at Binghamton University is working on a prototype bionic knee implant with built-in sensors designed to use the knees’ own abilities to generate energy to power it. The team states the implants will be able to provide doctors with regular activity updates and are powered by the patient’s movement. The study is published in the journal Smart Materials and Structures.
Previous studies show increasingly, knee replacement surgery is being performed on younger, more active patients. As these patients tend to be more active their knee implants can also wear down more quickly with doctors unable to discern whether an implant is too worn until the patient begins to develop symptoms. Unfortunately by this point, the damage to the implant has already been done, therefore, finding the perfect balance between activity levels and the integrity of the implant has proven to be quite difficult. The current study presents a prototype for a smart bionic knee implant powered by a triboelectric energy harvester with front end electronics to provide load and wear data in realtime.
The current study develops a prototype of a smart knee implant with an energy harvester, tested under a mechanical machine to examine its output under equivalent body loads. The prototype uses triboelectric energy, a type of energy collected from friction, so when the patient walks, the friction of the implant’s micro-surfaces coming into contact with each other can be used to power the implant and its smart sensors. The team states the smart implant will need 4.6 microwatts of energy to power itself based on the calculation involving the average amount of energy generated through the motion of walking.
Results show the output of the harvester is used to charge a supercapacitor, which in turn is used for low resolution sensing of the load through a peak detector and analog-to-digital converter. Data findings show sensing the load several times a day is feasible by relying only on harvested power. The lab states their work demonstrates triboelectric energy harvesting is a promising technique for self-powering load sensors inside bionic knee implants.
The team surmises they have provided a prototype smart, self-powered knee implant with the potential to reduce the number of knee replacement surgeries. For the future, the researchers state their smart implants could give feedback to doctors and help researchers in the development of future novel implants.
Source: Binghamton University
Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.
Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.