Tyndall develops ‘smart knee’ to accelerate surgery recovery

19 Dec 2016

From left: Thomas Healy, commercial and research project manager, and John Barton, staff research scientist at Tyndall National Institute, Cork showcase the ‘smart knee’ device. Image: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

A new ‘smart knee’ device from the Tyndall National Institute in Cork is being trialled in Europe, which could reduce the time needed to recover from surgery drastically.

The typical recuperation time for knee surgery – such as knee replacement or arthroscopy – can vary from three months to a whole year. But now, a new device being developed at Tyndall National Institute could make these timescales a thing of the past.

In collaboration with the German-Serbian software SME, Nissatech Innovation Centre, Tyndall has developed a new smart knee device that would be attached to the knee during post-op care.

Once attached, the smart knee system remotely monitors the patient’s progress through a knee movement sensor, with the data obtained being monitored by their caregiver.

Based on the progress the patient makes, the rehabilitation program can be adapted and personalised to the patient, thereby potentially reducing the amount of time needed to recover.

This new device has already progressed to the point of being used on real patients and is now being trialled in a Hungarian hospital.

If the tests prove to be successful, the research team estimated that it could be on the market in two years’ time.

Smart knee the right fit

This device is one of four innovations that Tyndall is sharing with the international SME community through the European Gateone project.

Encouraging SMEs to take advantage of the world-class technologies, the EU-funded Gateone project is sharing a concept portfolio to help bridge the gap from R&D to market-ready products.

Nenad Stojanovic, Nissatech’s CEO, said: “We were looking for a wearable technology that could be integrated with our software and allow us to measure specific parameters of knee movement.

“In addition to those critical clinical measurements, the size, weight and battery life were important criteria and the Tyndall sensor ticked all the boxes for us.

“This technology will enable us to easily create small, but very illustrative, prototypes, which can demonstrate how our sensor-signal processing software can be used in different scenarios for monitoring human movement.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic