For restoring comfortable and pain- free walking in patients, total knee arthroplasties can be a rather effective procedure. However, this solution comes with a major drawback that cannot be ignored. With time and extensive use, the implants wear out.
The status of the knee- implant becomes rather important for the patient to be aware of in such a scenario. There are sensors available that indicate the status and provide information about the same. Nevertheless, with built- in battery they also cannot last for a great amount of time.
To address the issue of sensors draining out due to built- in batteries, scientists from Binghamton University, Stony Brook University and the University of Western Ontario have collaborated their efforts and developed a knee- implant sensor which is self- powered. This particular knee- implant sensor depends on self generated electricity through friction.
A material can become electrically charged when another material rubs against it. This is known as the triboelectric effect, and is the principal technology used for the development of this particular sensor. The knee sensor built by them demands hardly 4.6 microwatts of electricity. Additionally, the generator that has been developed can produce more than the required amount of electricity for an average adult patient consistently.
If the patients can possess a tool to monitor the usage of the knee implants which are otherwise believed to start wearing out as time passes; it will give them the opportunity to both control their physical activities accordingly and the designers of implants ultimately to increase the longevity of their knee- implant.