London: A user-friendly forearm crutch with an in-built sensor has been developed to monitor whether or not it is being used correctly.The new crutch is based on low-cost, off-the-shelf technology and sensors similar to those used in Nintendo Wii.
"A growing number of people are in need of physiotherapy. But reports from physiotherapists indicate that people do not always use crutches in the correct manner. Until now, there has been no way to monitor this, even though repeated incorrect use of the crutch could make the patient`s injury worse," said Neil White, a professor at the University of Southampton.
Georgina Hallett, a member of Sothampton team that developed the intelligent crutch, said: "These crutches will make it much easier for patients to be taught how to use them properly, and how much weight they are allowed to put through their injured leg."
"This will help them to get out of hospital faster and also reduce their risk of further damaging an already injured leg by putting too much or too little weight through it."
The crutch is fitted with three accelerometers that detect movement and force sensors that measure the weight being applied to a patient`s leg and the position of his/her hand on the grip, said a Southampton release.
Data is transmitted wirelessly to a remote computer and visual information is displayed on the crutch if the patient uses it incorrectly.
First Published: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 13:25