Leg orthoses are used to improve security when standing and walking, as they support and stabilize the knee joint. For patients with persistent neuronal disorders of the musculoskeletal system, they are an essential tool in retaining independence in day-to-day life. Orthoses also provide valuable help and effective support for the return to mobility after accidents or surgery quickly in the rehabilitation process.
From a technological perspective, precise and reliable measurement and analysis of the patient's walking situation is above all a key requirement in situation-adapted orthosis control in constantly changing day-to-day life. In particular, orienting the orthosis relatively to the ground plays an important role in this context. On the basis of a recently developed micromechanical inertial position sensor, we are working on improving the stability of this position measurement. While the systems currently available on the market in some cases are pushed to their limits in specific day-to-day situations such as turning corners or climbing spiral staircases, the new system should also make this possible without any problems. The medium-term goal of intensive development-based collaboration with the internationally renowned orthosis producer Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, is to integrate the inertial position sensor into a patient-ready orthosis.
In order to make the technological innovations available to as broad a patient group as possible, development focuses in particular on reducing manufacturing costs and the energy consumption of the sensor. In order to achieve this, the development work has been embedded into the European Joint Research Project 9D Sense. This project intensively researches and further develops new miniaturization approaches for micromechanical systems and design concepts for increasing energy efficiency in highly integrated electronic circuits.