Design for Prosthetics and Injury Rehabilitation

Every physical disability is a unique challenge, therefore commercially available devices do not work for all individuals and there is no “one size fits all” solution to increasing functionality. As a result, a focus of RESEC is designing custom assistive devices to deliver to individuals in the community, often partnering with various entities around campus and around the state to develop products. Devices are distributed directly to individuals or caregivers through outreach programs and rehabilitation centers, and some past projects include: prosthetics for patients with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a prosthetic for a young girl who wanted to learn to play the violin, and a brace for Purdue Basketball center Isaac Haas when he broke his elbow in a 2018 NCAA tournament game. This brace was both functional and complied with all the NCAA basketball regulations, allowing Haas to compete.

Another interest area for RESEC is how players interact with the playing surface, which has the potential to affect both performance and possibility of injury. Both the surface and footwear play important roles and provide opportunities for engineers to make contributions, such as designing shoes to maximize torque at the shoe-surface interface without substantially increasing injury risk.