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Nitinol for prosthetic and orthotic applications

Buis, Arjan and Henderson, Emma (2012) Nitinol for prosthetic and orthotic applications. Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, 20 (4-5). pp. 663-665. ISSN 1059-9495

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Abstract

As global populations age, conditions such as stroke and diabetes require individuals to use rehabilitation technology for many years to come due to chronic musculoskeletal, sensory, and other physical impairments. One in four males currently aged 45 will experience a stroke within 40 years and will often require access to prolonged rehabilitation. In addition, worldwide, one individual loses a limb every 30 s due to the complications of diabetes. As a result, innovative ideas are required to devise more effective prosthetic and orthotic devices to enhance quality of life. While Nitinol has already found much favor within the biomedical industry, one area, which has not yet exploited its unique properties, is in the field of physical rehabilitation, ranging from prosthetic and orthotic devices to assistive technology such as wheelchairs. Improved intervention capabilities based on materials such as Nitinol have the potential to vastly improve patients quality of life and in the case of orthoses, may even reduce the severity of the condition over time. It is hoped that this study will spark discussion and interest for the materials community in a field which has yet to be fully exploited.