Foot pressure monitoring

Problem Definition:

Smart body patches constitute an important new upcoming market for devices that are worn on the body or close to the body, and that monitor our health and safety. An interesting subtopic is the measurement of plantar pressure, which is a valuable tool to overcome and prevent various foot-ankle related pathologies. Therefore the aim in this thesis is to develop thin, 2.5-D and reliable smart shoe insoles, with integrated arrays of pressure sensors. These insoles will aid the health care professional in the understanding of the loading pattern during a variety of dynamic tasks, thereby serving as a diagnostic as well as a research tool.

Objectives:


The goal of this project is to realize a 3 cm x 3 cm pressure sensor matrix in a stretchable technology, as schematically shown on the left. This high-resolution sensor consists of 9 sensor points per square cm. The total thickness should preferably be less than 1 mm.

One aspect of the thesis will be the design and the fabrication of the pressure sensor matrix in a high-resolution, stretchable techology. After fabrication of the electronics circuit on a flat substrate, the pressure sensor layer will be added, the circuit will be embedded in its final insole polymer and it will be deformed to its final 2.5D shape.

Apart from the physical realization of the pressure sensor matrix itself, it is also needed to develop a low-power electronic circuit enabling the operation and the read-out / visualisation of the sensor. The electronic design encompasses an intelligent driving system, sensor read-out, signal processing, and some peripheral electronics like power supply and wireless communication. The software to visualize the pressure distribution can be written for a PC, smartphone or tablet.

 

The thesis will be divided into several subtasks:

  • Design of the pressure sensor matrix:
    • Literature study and evaluation of different pressure sensing techniques
    • Design of a pressure sensor (1 sensor point)
    • Design of a pressure sensor matrix
  • Design of the electronic circuit
    • Driver electronics for the sensor nodes
    • Read-out electronics for the sensor nodes
    • Wireless communication
  • Programming of a software application to visualize the applied pressure


Keywords:

electronic design, pressure sensor, medical applications

Location:

Ardoyen CMST + at home.