Inspiration

People in physical therapy often need to wear knee braces to help stabilize their knee and add support. However, some knee braces either don't offer enough support or are too rigid for normal use.

What it does

Our adaptive knee brace automatically detects dangerous changes in knee position i.e. when your knee locks up and engages more support.

How we built it

The main driver of the brace is an Arduino, which uses a rotary sensor to detect dangerous changes in knee position along with a servo to help manage the locking mechanism. The structural parts of the prototype are 3D printed as they're lightweight and still can offer some support.

Challenges we ran into

  • 3D Print failures
  • CAD failures
  • CAD designs for the 3D printed parts weren't perfect and needed some post-processing work
  • 2 Intel Edisons weren't reading sensor data properly
  • Had to swap to an Arduino

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Brace fits and functions on an actual human being

What we learned

  • Hardware hacks are very involved and require a lot of attention to detail
  • Sensors and sensor data can be hard to work with

What's next for IntelliKnee

  • Improvements to the CAD design which allow for more support while still maintaining the lightweight stature

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