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Universitas Gadjah Mada develops physiotherapy device for ankles

Image Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada
Image Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

An innovation in health technology was developed by three Indonesian students from Universitas Gadjah Mada Vocational School.

According to the recent report made, the technology that they have invented is a shoe that could prevent the ankles, of people experiencing loss of muscular function, from contracting.

The idea to create this project came from the personal experience of one of the student creators. He suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which reduces the functions of the muscles.

DMD is characterised by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

Without undergoing any form of physiotherapy for his ankle, the student suffered from stiffening of his ankle muscles.

This condition, caused by the stiffening of muscles, is called ankle contracture. To address this problem, they developed a shoe that provides automatic movement to the ankles, similar to undergoing physiotherapy.

The Achilles Physiotherapy Orthosis (Aveo) tool won two gold medals from the National Student Scientific Week at Universitas Negeri Yogyagarta.

Constant movement will prevent the ankle muscles from being stiff, thereby avoiding ankle contracture.

The Aveo uses servo motor as its main driver, which is connected to the Arduino Nano based controller. Gyroscope and Accelerometer sensors are installed on the shoes in order to predict joint movement.

This enables detection if the movement has already reached maximum when in automatic mode.

An android smartphone app can control the shoes. The users can set the degree of tilt and speed of the device.

The device is able to move a person’s ankle up to 20 degrees upwards and 45 degree downwards.

There are two parts that make up the Aveo shoe. The first part supports the lower leg and the calf while the second part supports the leg.

Both parts make use of polyethylene plastic that is connected with an aluminium hinge. The servo motor is the driver of the device. It uses batteries with 7.4 volts to power it.

In treating a patient, a regular physiotherapy session takes around 30 – 60 minutes whereas the Aveo shoe only takes around 15 – 30 minutes.

Another benefit from the device is independence. No need for therapists to perform physiotherapy on the patient because the patient can do it by themselves, through the help of the device.

More work is being done in order to improve the shoe in order to meet medical tool standards.

The project costs as much as US$ 134.72 (IDR 2 million) to produce. The cost will be reduced to US$ 101.04 (IDR 1.5 million), however, if the Aveo is mass produced.

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