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Wearables and soft robotics in orthopedics - in the design sprint to new solutions

The matrix gGmbH offers students insights into digital manufacturing processes in an online workshop

Das Toolkit wurde den Teilnehmenden für Hands-on-Sessions zur Verfügung gestellt.
The toolkit was made available to the participants for hands-on sessions.

Digital manufacturing processes, wearable electronics and soft robotics - students of orthopedic and rehabilitation technology at Federal College for Orthopedic Technology (BUFA) received first insights into the subject of wearables & soft robotics in a digital workshop. The matrix gGmbH gave this from 14.-16. December 2020 a workshop under the direction of Adriana Cabrera and Niels Lichtenthäler.

At the beginning, the orthopedic and rehabilitation technology students were given an insight into the topic-specific areas of electronics, sensors, actuators and conductive materials. Practical application examples of maker projects showed the possibilities of the different technologies. In hands-on exercises and with the help of the workshop toolkit, the students gained their first practical experience. The toolkit was sent to all participants in the run-up to the workshop and, in addition to textile film transfer paper, contained all the materials required to build simple artificial muscles and the first soft robotic prototypes.

Entwicklung eines künstlichen Muskels in einer Hans-on-Session
Development of an artificial muscle in a hands-on session

As part of a three-day design challenge, the students first independently identified problems that patients * had with hand and foot orthoses and in the corresponding manufacturing process. Subsequently, possible solutions were developed and two promising ones were worked on in greater depth in groups. Here, the participants were able to combine what they had previously learned with their expert knowledge in orthopedic technology and apply it directly.

With enthusiasm and intensive cooperation, they quickly developed the first prototypes using the materials in the toolkit. In the subsequent presentations and practical demonstrations, new approaches to improving a foot orthosis with air chambers and dynamic shape detection on the foot were revealed.

Christin Rupprecht, Deputy Head of the Institute for Metrology and Biomechanics (IMB) at BUFA, was enthusiastic about the results of the students: "I was impressed by the short time our students were able to convert what they learned into exciting concepts and tangible prototypes we were all spread out at different locations. "

Übungen mit Soft Robotics
Exercises with soft robotics

The workshop is part of the project MakeOpaedicsthat consistently pursues open innovation strategies and develops prototypes for aids. The matrix gGmbH started the project in November 2020 together with its project partner, the Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the project as part of the “Open Photonik Pro” funding measure within the program "Photonics Research Germany".

Gefördert vom Bundesminsterium für Bildung und Forschung