Bendable/re-shapeable material

Hi! I am doing a project where I need to design a piece of wearable tech that should be located in the area around the ankle. It has to be extremely easy to put on since people with impaired motor funktion will use it. I want to try something that you can simply wrap around the leg and it stays in place without any locking mechanism. Do you know any proper material, or any product with similar properties?

Jacob :smiley:

“motor funktion” – that’s a Motown fraze, right?

Ok, guess that motor skill is more accurate (translating from Swedish to English)…

How about velcro with a nice fat strap thats easier to hold onto with impaired motor control? I’m not sure if you’re considering this as a locking mechanism.

Spandex tube.

Low pressure, great size range. Anything hard will create a pressure point.

Does it have to be on the leg? Getting things on and off the leg for people with low motor function can be very difficult. Can you tell us a little bit more about the demographic and why they have reduced motor functions? Do they have finger dexterity? reduced sensation in the leg? Above average weight? I’ve been doing some work both in the wearables segment and in designing products for people with DFU’s (Diabetic foot ulcers)… though not related. Keeping wearables on (but easy to put on and off) and working with people with reduced motor skills and sensitivity have unique challenges that might be a bit in opposition here.

I worked on some wearables for athletes and children over the last year and keeping those things on is difficult! The way we did it was we made lots of low fidelity prototypes. We cut up blocks of wood that were the same size and weight as the electronics, then made lots of clugey mock ups. A lot of hot glue, velcro, athletic shoe meshes, and so on. This allowed us to test a lot of options without spending a ton of time.

But getting to my original question, does it have to be on the leg? For someone with reduced mobility (another way of saying low motor skills) a necklace or bracelet is probably going to be much simpler.

We need to know more of your product requirements:

  • how long is it going to be worn
  • what kind of sensors are integrated
  • during what activities is this going to be worn
  • what is the demographic

What comes to mind is a type of elastic ankle bracelet with a custom designed hooking device that also integrates the electronics
There is no such thing as ‘no locking mechanism’ - since something always stays in place because of a mechanical reason - maybe you mean that the mechanism needs to be integral to the material. Then consider developing a small bandaid-like patch that a gecko dry adhesive sticks to.

I’m gonna try to tell as much as I can within NDA rules. Ok, the device is for measuring gait (walking movement), so it has to be in an area close to the ankle. It could also be on the foot. This is because it will be used for assessment of people with movement disorders. The device needs an IMU (accelerometer and gyro), power, PCB, transmitter etc.

The problem with solutions like putting it in a shoe or a sock is that people do not wear them all the time. Especially here in Sweden, people are bare foot during summer, and they mostly don’t use shoes indoors.

What I can say from the requirements is that the product should stay in place, and still be comfortable. Since we are dealing with people with tremors and problem grasping things etc., we aim for a way of fixating it to the leg that is as simple as possible. At the same time, many patients have sensitive skin, so we have to have low pressure, and reduce chafe.

The optimal would be if people would use them as often as possible during every-day activities.

Considering they make existing ankle bracelets and all you care is a way to sew the tech into the soft good, I would just do velcro + neoprene. The digital part of it can just be slid into place.

There is a huge market of soft goods out there - if you haven’t already bought, analyzed and cut apart a bunch of existing ankle braces I would start there and see what makes some better or worse for your intended purpose.

This will trap heat and humidity.

To reduce the possibility of skin damage, the product must have a high MVTR.

I’ll stick to my spandex tube recommendation. Could be slip-on or closed with a velcro strip. Slip-on would have a higher margin.

I’m going to assume this is for fall prevention? Wink once for yes, two for no. :wink:

I can’t recall the name of the company, but there is a startup doing something for fall prevention built into socks. Works in the hospital setting as socks with grippy feet are required in most US institutions.

do you remember these Nike sweatband watches? The module was removable and it came with three sweatbands so you could wash them.

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We have one of these for our infant. It’s just a soft cotton good, but infants are all universally pretty small so it doesn’t need a wide range of adjustment.

OP didn’t post how long the intended wear time is. Neoprene does retain more heat, but when I suffered from carpal tunnel I wrote a neoprene wristband often 8 hours a day. Got mushy by the end of the day but not the end of the world.

Either it will look like a sock of some sort, or it will look like a house arrest bracelet. Assuming these people have mobility problems, I’m not sure how often they will be galavanting around barefoot?