Leading engineering technology could monitor hip replacements for signs of wear

The Engineer has reported that new leading technology could monitor hip replacements for signs of wear, powered by the movement of the user’s walk.

The device which has been engineered is designed to fit inside a typical prosthetic hip joint, uses a piezo-electric device that generates up to 3.7V of electricity as the user walks to power a strain gauge and a transmitter.   The device contains a ball bearing that rolls back and forth as the user walks along and strikes a substrate covered on one side with piezo-electric material (known as a unimorph) to produce electricity.

Hopefully this new device will be able to tell doctors if the replacement is starting to break down and advise the patient on lifestyle changes or the potential need for another operation. This will hopefully prolong the life of some replacements or at least signal when it is time for a new one, before the patient is in pain.

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