IIT Delhi researchers develop sensor to help fix postural deformities

The sensor also helps detect a fall especially in the elderly with Parkinson’s disorder

Yasmin Tinwala

Representative Image / IImage: Wikimedia Commons

The scientists at IIT Delhi developed a scalable wearable pressure sensor that could help doctors and specialists analyse human gait patterns and address postural deformities. According to an official release the sensor can be comfortably fitted inside the insole of varying shoe sizes, or attached easily at the palm.

Prominent deformities such as splay foot, flat foot, unstable hind foot, protruding heels, high arches, and irregular gait are some of the issues that are known to cause problems such as poor balance, abnormal posture, swollen knees, joint weaknesses, making it difficult to walk.

The sensor was developed for monitoring such deformities, detecting other medical conditions, and providing clues that could lead to recovery, and avoiding any long-term harm. Researchers found that the sensor allows concurrent sensing of mechanical strain as well as contact force/pressure.

The technology is based on a nanocomposite material which allows for simultaneous sensing of mechanical strain and contact force/pressure, making it compatible with current Machine Learning algorithms. The sensor can also detect hand grip strength, a key parameter in understanding recovery, particularly for limb injuries, making it suitable for injury rehabilitation.

The sensor is also capable of understanding human activities and can distinguish between walking, running, and other movements by detecting pressure changes in the user’s hind foot. This capability of the sensor is particularly valuable in smart healthcare systems for analyzing activity patterns, exercise intensity, and other parameters critical for the health of obese and diabetic individuals. It can also help to detect a fall, especially in the elderly with conditions like Parkinson’s disorder.