Acoustic Emission-based Device to Monitor Bone Damage
Purdue Research Foundation, US
The fundamental technology involves detection of microfractures as they occur, by detecting the ultrasound waves created during the initiation and growth of microcracks in the bone. Two sensors, each the size of a penny, attached below the neck and in the lumbar region could provide data on the spinal cord and two similar sensors attached to the tibia or femur could work for the extremities. Given the growing trend towards increased physical activity in all age groups, stress and age related injuries will be a growing area requiring diagnosis and treatment. A sensor to enable rapid and inexpensive detection of microfractures could be a great resource to determine activity schedules for high-risk patients, athletes and military recruits
There appears to be significant agreement in the art that microfractures weaken bones and there is a threshold value above which, continued strain may result in complete or partial fracture. Purdue inventors are proposing an alternative technology for detection of microfractures.
Nanotech 2008 Conference Program Abstract