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Shape memory ankle–foot orthoses

Jianming ChenJinlian Hu*Aaron K. L. LeungCheng ChenJun ZhangYuanchi ZhangYong ZhuJianping Han
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Electrically actuated ankle–foot orthoses (AFOs) were designed and prototyped using shape memory textile composites. Acrylic copolymers were synthesized as the matrix to demonstrate shape memory effects, whereas electrothermal fabrics were embedded to generate uniform heat as a trigger. Superior to conventional polymeric orthoses, shape memory AFOs (SM-AFOs) could be repeatedly programmed at least 20 times with stable shape fixity and recovery. Evidenced by clinical practice, SM-AFOs were effectively actuated at 10 V, allowing the correction of ankle angles with 10° plantarflexion. Ultimately, we envision a smart orthopedic system that can advance progressive rehabilitation with manipulation under safe and convenient conditions.