One focuses on the development of a seamless knitted sleeve for the management of perspiration at the interface between prosthetic limbs and an amputee’s residual stump.
Current prosthetic sleeves are constructed from textile fabrics coated with an impermeable sheet of silicone rubber. Consequently, sweat is not transported away from the skin and accumulates within the sleeve.
The breathable prosthetic sleeves could aid the recovery of injured military personnel by reducing complications, such as ulcers. The lack of seams will help improve comfort and protect against pressure necrosis. This technology could also be of benefit to amputees in the general population.
A second project is just beginning, which looks at ways to incorporate thermistors into textile yarn to produce a sensor sock to monitor (and prevent) the conditions that cause non-freezing cold injury.
Work on these projects has provided technology advances to MOD and showcased the University’s capabilities, which have been further exploited by MOD on projects relating to the development of models to train surgeons and in the development of wearable technologies. For the latter, the University has also been working on a project with the University of Southampton to develop fully integrated electronic textiles using printed electronics. The work led to £2.8 million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to take the project further and incorporate smaller components with enhanced functionality.
Professor Tilak Dias said:
CDE funding has been an important factor in the development of our technologies on the road to commercialisation and subsequent adoption by the military.