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Design and evaluation of a novel dynamic ankle-foot orthosis using silicone/SMA materials
Design and evaluation of a novel dynamic ankle-foot orthosis using silicone/SMA materials
Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs) are those devices used for rehabilitation of a pathological gait, which is caused for instance by a stroke. This research aims to design, model, simulate, manufacture, and test a novel AFO, which is designed to ensure ease of use, freedom of movement, and high performance for high-level activities at relatively low costs. Research problems are inherent in the increasing demand for AFOs based on polymers, which have relatively low biomechanical properties and may cause skin sweating and irritation in the long term. Moreover, there are problems related to the high costs of recent AFOs made of advanced composites or carbon fiber, the market needs (orthopedic workers) and users alike, and the necessity of a novel AFO that meets the demands and helps to produce orthoses for fitting each patient. Therefore, orthotists could save time and obtain a more convenient AFO prototype, which helps them in patients' treatment.
This study includes, from an applied point of view, the design, modeling, and simulation of a novel ankle-foot orthosis based on silicone, shape memory alloy (SMA), and elastic bands. This, in turn, ensures freedom of movement and high performance for high-level activities. It also includes, in practical terms, the manufacturing of the ankle-foot orthosis, based on the aforementioned design and materials, and conducting appropriate mechanical and biomechanical tests. This study includes also a literature review and description of the materials, methods, and equipment used in the design, modeling, simulation, manufacturing, and testing of a novel dynamic ankle-foot orthosis.

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