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An optoelectric plantar “shear” sensing transducer: design, validation, and preliminary subject tests

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4 Author(s)
Lebar, A.M. ; Dept. of Biomed. Eng., Marquette Univ., Milwaukee, WI, USA ; Harris, G.F. ; Wertsch, J.J. ; Hongsheng Zhu

A prototype miniature plantar shear sensing transducer was developed, characterized, and tested in this study. Electro-optical components were chosen for the design because of the fast response time, low cost, small size, low power requirements, and adaptability to this application. The optoelectric circuit employed a 660 nm wavelength light source and photodiode solar cell. Signal amplification and sensitivity were adjusted to provide an output voltage proportional to light power. The sensor shell was designed to encapsulate the electro-optical sensing components while providing mechanical resistance to shear through a spring mechanism. A naval bronze was chosen for the shell due to its strength and nonreflective characteristics (alloy of copper and tin). Static and dynamic characteristics of the shear sensor were determined through a series of calibration tests. Mechanical crosstalk sensitivity ranged from 14.34 to 30.51 mV/N. This represented 1% full-scale/Newton sensitivity. Nonlinearity averaged 5.6% in the forward direction and 7.6% in the reverse direction. Overall sensor output hysteresis was 1.1±3.1% while the natural frequency of the sensor to an input shear transient was approximately 5 Hz. Temperature sensitivity was -7.0 mV/°C or 3.5% full-scale/°C. Testing of five adult subjects revealed peak anterior-posterior shear ranging from 6.7 kPa (posterior heel) to 51.4 kPa (great toe) and medial-lateral shear ranging from 5.4 kPa (great toe) to 43.5 kPa (first metatarsal head). Stress-time integral values ranged from 0.78 kPa-sec (posterior shear at the posterior heel) to 37.3 kPa-sec (medial shear at the posterior heel). Contact durations ranged from 0.28 sec (posterior shear at the posterior heel) to 1.25 sec (medial shear at the posterior heel). Further application of the sensor for plantar shear characterization in able-bodied subjects and those with pathology is suggested

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Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )