TECHNOLOGICAL advancements could see amputee soldiers returning to service, Bournemouth University lecturers believe.
Experts at the university’s Design Simulation Rese-arch Centre are creating a ‘smart socket’ – a lower-limb prosthetic which can adjust itself to fit the changing shape of the limb stump it connects with.
The team, led by Professor Siamak Noroozi, is using artificial intelligence to create a system that measures interactions between socket and limb stump during the fitting and wear.
Senior lecturer Bryce Dyer said: “Think of the smart socket as a sock that goes between your foot and a hard shoe. Fitting a false limb is very much a black art at the moment. Because the stump will expand and contract, it’s like trying to fit a shoe to a foot that keeps getting bigger and smaller.
“This new technology will make the fit much more comfortable.”
The technology could also be used by future Paralympians, a topic Mr Dyer specialises in.
“At the moment, the furthest distance for a Paralympian runner is the 400 metres,” he said.
“In theory, amputee athletes should be able to run marathons, but the prosthetics would become too painful for that to be a reality yet.”
Mr Dyer said prosthetics are becoming more efficient and will eventually benefit non-athletes and soldiers.