View Full Version : [Fwd: NASA Technology Leads to Innovative Device to Aid Strokeand]

Larry Lawhorn, Otr
12-21-1996, 07:11 PM
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Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 12:37:57 EST
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From: lscadden@NSF.GOV
Subject: NASA Technology Leads to Innovative Device to Aid Stroke and
To: Multiple recipients of list RESNA
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Jim Cast
Headquarters, Washington, DC December 20, 1996
(Phone: 202/358-1779)
Sender: owner-press-release
Precedence: bulk

Dave Drachlis
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
(Phone: 205/544-0034)

RELEASE: 96-265


The inventors of a new, innovative knee brace are not
medical researchers or physicians. Rather, they are a group
of engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center,
Huntsville, AL, who are using space technology to help people
recovering from strokes and knee injuries.

The device, called the Selectively Lockable Knee Brace,
could mean quicker, less painful rehabilitation by allowing
movement of the knee. Knee braces now on the market lock the
knee in a rigid, straight-leg position.

"It is designed to help patients who have a loss of
muscle control from the thigh down due to a stroke or
accident," said Marshall engineer and co-inventor Michael

"The Selectively Lockable Knee Brace allows the knee to
function while supporting the leg," explained co-inventor
Neill Myers. "The brace may be used by a patient recovering
from a knee injury when the patient needs to use the knee,
but the knee cannot carry the full weight of the patient."

The upper part of the brace attaches around the thigh,
with the lower part secured by a stirrup around the shoe.
"It works by allowing the knee to bend when weight is not on
the heel," said Myers. "Once weight is placed on the heel,
the knee brace locks into position."

Shadoan, Myers, and co-inventors John Forbes, Kevin
Baker and Darron Rice have contributed time over the last
three years to design the prototype of the brace. Through
the Technology Transfer Office at Marshall, these propulsion
engineers are using space technology to develop needed
products on Earth. "The knee brace is a spin-off of
technology used in developing propulsion systems at
Marshall," said Shadoan.

Although it is uncertain when the brace will be
available for commercial use, the inventors are working with
a private company to test the prototype and verify the
design. "Field tests now underway will allow us to gather
the information needed to 'tweak' the brace for final
design," said Shadoan.

The inventors recently received a patent on the
Selectively Lockable Knee Brace based on its commercial
applications. As commercial companies work with the
inventors to evaluate and modify the brace, it moves a step
closer to final design and manufacturing -- then into the
market place, where it can help people with special needs.