Polymer Optical Fiber Plantar Pressure Sensors: Design and Validation

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The proper measurement of plantar pressure during gait is critical for the clinical diagnosis of foot problems. Force platforms and wearable devices have been developed to study gait patterns during walking or running. However, these devices are often expensive, cumbersome, or have boundary constraints that limit the participant’s motions. Recent advancements in the quality of plastic optical fiber (POF) have made it possible to manufacture a low-cost bend sensor with a novel design for use in plantar pressure monitoring. An intensity-based POF bend sensor is not only lightweight, non-invasive, and easy to construct, but it also produces a signal that requires almost no processing. In this work, we have designed, fabricated, and characterized a novel intensity POF sensor to detect the force applied by the human foot and measure the gait pattern. The sensors were put through a series of dynamic and static tests to determine their measurement range, sensitivity, and linearity, and their response was compared to that of two different commercial force sensors, including piezo resistive sensors and a clinical force platform. The results suggest that this novel POF bend sensor can be used in a wide range of applications, given its low cost and non-invasive nature. Feedback walking monitoring for ulcer prevention or sports performance could be just one of those applications.
Fiber optic macro-bend, Biofeedback tool, Gait monitoring, Optical fiber sensor, Plastic, Optical fiber, Plantar sensor
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Safarloo, S., Núñez-Cascajero, A., Sanchez-Gomez, R., & Vázquez, C. (2022). Polymer Optical Fiber Plantar Pressure Sensors: Design and Validation. 22(10), 3883