Smart pneumatic knee brace uses air to relieve pressure

February 5, 2021

Exoskeleton manufacturer C-EXO has designed a “smart” pneumatically-activated knee brace to help runners minimise the chances of injury. Known as the E-Knee, the device’s standard features include a main body made of an elastic, breathable fabric, flexible support bars running vertically along the sides, and a gel-ring stabiliser around the kneecap.

Its most unique addition is five airbags – two above the knee joint, two below it, and one around – connected via silicone hosing to a control box which is magnetically attached to the top of the brace. The control box containsan inertial measurement unit (IMU), an ARM control chip, an electric pump, and a lithium battery.

The IMU continuously detects movements of the knee when powered up; and the control box instantaneously responds by selectively pumping air in or out of the five airbags, varying the amount of pressure applied to the joint.

Smart pneumatic knee brace uses air to relieve pressure

According to C-EXO, this setup allows the E-Knee to consistently deliver the maximum amount of support – and the most comfortable fit – regardless of the knee position.

The easy-to-use E-knee should reportedly be good for about 35 hours of use per wired or wireless charge of its battery. When the brace needs to be washed, its control box can simply be pulled off.

Plans call for the E-Knee to soon be the subject of a Kickstarter campaign – pledges should start at US$159 for a single brace, or US$289 for a pair, inclusive of a wired charging cable.

Category: Technology & Devices

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