‘Smart knee’ technology from scientists in Cork boosts patient recovery

Thomas Healy and John Barton. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Scientists at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork are involved in the development of a ‘smart knee’ sensor which could improve and accelerate recovery from knee surgery.

The intelligent device, created along with scientists at German-Serbian software company Nissatech Innovation Centre, is attached to the knee during post-op care and is now being trialled in a Budapest Hospital.

Scientists predict clinicians and patients alike will enjoy, within the next two years, the benefits of the device which remotely monitors the patient’s progress through a movement sensor.

The device was developed through an EU-funded gateone project. Tyndall has selected four of its key technology platforms to be part of the gateone portfolio, including wearable technologies, micro-needle-based transdermal delivery systems, energy management systems and electrochemical sensors.

Principal investigator for the gateone project at Tyndall, Thomas Healy said the fact the sensor remotely monitors the patient’s progress was of huge value to physicians.

“Typically after knee surgeries, patients need to undergo a rehabilitation process to strengthen muscles and regain their mobility. Much of the post-op exercises take place at home where they cannot be observed by medical staff.

Those recovering from knee surgery will enjoy the benefits of the device, which remotely monitors the patient’s progress through a movement sensor, within the next two years. Picture: Inpho
Those recovering from knee surgery will enjoy the benefits of the device, which remotely monitors the patient’s progress through a movement sensor, within the next two years. Picture: Inpho

“The ‘smart knee’ system remotely monitors the patient’s progress, through a knee movement sensor developed at Tyndall, and based on the progress the patient makes, the rehabilitation programme can be adapted and personalised to the patient. The the data provided to the physician is invaluable in the recovery process, which is the real value of the ‘smart knee’,” he said.

Nissatech CEO Nenad Stojanovic said the Tyndall device “ticked all the boxes” in terms of the type of wearable technology it is looking to develop.

“This technology will enable us to easily create small but very illustrative prototypes which can demonstrate how our sensor-signal processing software can be used in different scenarios for monitoring human movement. The sensor technology can be physically placed on various body parts, opening plenty of possibilities for new monitoring scenarios,” he said.

The gateone project is funded through the European Horizon 2020 plan, the largest European research fund of its kind, with a fund of €80 billion, financing EU research projects over 7 years.


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