Ohio Patent of the Month – February 2022

WillowWood Global, LLC has spent over 100 years working to improve patient care through innovative products. They’ve worked to make prosthetics as comfortable and functional as they can be, advancing them alongside technology. Recently, they’ve designed a prosthetic that uses a conductive human interface to further improve this functionality.

The system uses electromyographic (EMG) signals generated by muscles during contraction. If these signals are detected, they can be used as input to control the prosthetic. WillowWood has developed interfaces that can accurately detect these signals to gather input. The interface has a fabric layer with conductive threads and electrodes which contact the user’s skin. The electrode receives the EMG signals as the user’s muscles contract and send these signals to electrically connected components. The fabric interface can then be designed to effectively match with the prosthetic. This might take the form of a socket or a sock that can fit to the prosthetic limb. A circuit board can then be used to intake the EMG signals and convert these to controls for the prosthetic. 

Prosthetics have come a long way, from initially providing a support or placeholder to being controlled from just muscle contraction. WillowWood is set on improving the experience of a prosthetic user and making control as natural as possible. The more control a user has over the prosthetic, the more active they can be.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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