September 2018

The Future Is Knocking: Hanger, AT&T Create Network-Connected Monitoring Device for Transtibial Prostheses

Andrew DiBello, leader, manufacturing process and systems, with Hanger, Inc., and Mohamed in the Hanger fabrication lab. Photograph courtesy of AT&T and Hanger, Inc.

Hanger, Inc. (Austin, TX) and AT&T, through its AT&T Foundry innovation center, have developed a proof of concept for what the companies are calling the industry’s first standalone, network-connected monitoring device for prosthetic limbs. The device mounts onto a transtibial prosthesis and is fit with an LTE-M modem that syncs to the cloud without relying on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a separate mobile device. Three sensors, which collect data on various ranges of motion and directionality, will allow Hanger Clinic clinicians to discern the patient’s type of motion, such as walking, running, or ascending or descending stairs. It also reports on how often and how long a patient is active and the degree of activity per event.

An accompanying interactive iOS mobile app was also prototyped. The app, equipped with patient and clinician portals, will provide patients with information about their day-to-day progress and clinicians can view their patients’ activity levels in near-real time. It also includes a video calling feature so patients can talk with their clinicians about potential issues with their prostheses. Equipped with these insights, clinicians can proactively contact patients whose user data shows low activity or irregularities to address potential issues impacting prosthesis usage, such as fit and comfort, with the aim of increasing mobility.

A close-up photo of the device. Photograph courtesy of AT&T and Hanger, Inc.

Hanger is trialing five of these devices with existing patients. In the coming months, Hanger and AT&T will continue to take the best components of this proof of concept to create a fully functional product for the next phase of this project.

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