A shoe insole that uses bionic technology to help people with nerve damage maintain their balance was designed by researchers at the University of Queensland.
“One in six people will experience sensory loss in the foot due to many types of neuropathy and up to 65% of people with this nerve damage will fall each year,” said Dr. Hatton.
“Our new bionic technology called Augmented Vibrotexture is a hybrid design combining vibration and geometric texture in an insole, which delivers stimuli to the soles of the feet.
“This provides feedback along major sensory nerves that transmit signals about touch, vibration and sense of position from the feet to the brain to help maintain balance.
“This is the first time that a shoe insole has been developed with a hybrid design like this that provides two different types of sensory stimuli.”
The insoles are operated by a mobile app that tracks the user’s health and also enables remote health monitoring between patients and clinicians.
The Unique Invention recently received the Major Category Award in this year’s Bionics Challenge, receiving $ 50,000 in prizes and an eight-week mentorship program.
“The team is delighted to have received this award,” said Dr Hatton.
“The funds will be used to help develop the technical specifications of the insole design, the mobile application and test the final prototype.
“Over the next 12-18 months, we will consult with patients and key stakeholders in the design process and use artificial intelligence to measure brain activity in response to the sensory experience of the foot.”
Dr. Hatton’s team plans to develop a wide range of products that will include insoles for people with neuropathy, those with balance issues due to other medical conditions, and a product targeting health and wellness. be in general.
The team collaborates with academics, clinicians and industry partners in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as Walk with path in Copenhagen and London to co-develop this new bionic sensory sole technology.