Additively manufactured pressure sensor for embedding in 3D-printed below-knee orthosis

Additive manufacturing enables direct prototyping of complex 3D-objects that are difficult to manufacture using conventional methods. It is widely used to fabricate cost-efficient prototypes and portrays as a bridging technology to connect different scientific and industrial fields, e.g. Engineering, Medicine, etc. Consequently, additive manufacturing finds its applications in the production of patient-specific orthoses. This paper discusses the application of the stereolithography apparatus process to develop a pressure sensor based on an optical waveguide principle to embed into a below-knee orthosis. For Orthopaedic patients, the below-knee orthosis must be adjusted to the lower leg at regular intervals due to anthropometric changes in patient’s body to achieve proper mobility and correct load. Currently, this alteration relies on the patient’s estimation of support load and is only sub-optimal. Hence, the concept of developing an intelligent orthosis with a novel embedded optical system to monitor the exact support load at the neuralgic is proposed.