Michael Leydet,
College Park Industries, Fraser, MI

The College Park Industries iPecs® (In telligent Prosthetic Endo-Skeletal Com ponent System) is a medical research device that will provide researchers with a tool to accurately measure human locomotion or gait parameters on users of lower limb prostheses. The iPecs measures forces and torsionmoments that can then be wirelessly transmitted in real time to a PC interface. This wireless capability of the iPecs will, for the first time, allow environmentally unencumbered re search to be conducted outside of the laboratory, providing insight into what a prosthesis user experiences on a daily basis.

Research conducted with the iPecs will be used to develop clinical algorithms to facilitate and objectively document prosthetic component selection and alignment. When used outside of its wireless transmission range, multiple days’ worth of data may be stored onboard the mobile sensor unit on a removable micro SD memory card for later retrieval.

“The iPecs® Tech is the next generation of lightweight wireless load cell/transducers developed for automotive, industrial, and aerospace applications. Winning the Electronics Category in the Create the Future Design Contest will help us enhance our ability to reach markets with this distinctive sensor product.”

Clinical use of the iPecs device will allow clinicians to directly measure what they are seeing and what prosthesis users are feeling. This device fulfills the desired functional requirements as outlined by many leading researchers active within the area of amputee gait analysis, and will be universally adaptable with standard mounting components used in the finished prosthetic limb. It will allow the desired data to be collected without interfering with the normal function of the prosthesis. This freedom from current constraints will provide a much more accurate picture of how the prosthesis user functions in normal daily activities.

A spinoff of this technology is the iPecs-Tech, a wireless six-degrees-of-freedom load cell with plug-and-play functionality capable of meeting many other industrial applications. This product will be commercially available this fall.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1926 .

Honorable Mentions

Mithras CPV

Kurt Keville
Cambridge, MA

The Mithras Concentrator is a lightweight, rapidly deployable 100W solar power device, utilizing concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology. CPV introduces a low-cost option to solar power generation, using reflective surfaces and a Fresnel lens to consolidate sunlight from a large area into a tighter beam. This reduces cost, decreasing the number of PV cells necessary to capture a given amount of light energy, while producing a consistent voltage output and making more efficient use of space.

The SunChaser MPPT controller acts as a voltage spike and droop buffer when clouds go by. Experience has shown that a 40x concentration is the maximum achievable before active cooling is required on the solar cells. This simple construct offers a very lightweight solar concentrator that is easily portable and much faster to construct than most competing approaches.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1968 .

SSB Hearing Aid

Jack Wiegman
Missoula, MT

The most common form of deafness occurs as a diminished ability of the ear to detect certain tones and separate some tones from others. The difficult tones are usually in the higher pitches. Single Sideband (SSB) technology can shift the pitch of any audible sound to any other pitch without latency.

In SSB hearing aids, unprocessed ambient sound will be admitted to the ear canal along with the shifted audio. Therefore, the modulating frequency and the beat frequency must each be tightly controlled so that the newly derived tones will be even divisions (or multiples) of the originals. In this manner, original and new tones are meshed without confusion to the listener.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1200 .

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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