Skip to main content
Ideas at the Intersection

Imprint
Device helps prosthetists fit patients more comfortably and accurately

Share this project
Share to TwitterShare to FacebookEmailMore...
Masters students in the MS in Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program were challenged to use human-centered design to improve a process at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Caitlin Makatura chose to enhance the prosthetic fitting process.
Imprint measures how loose or tight the prosthetic fits at different points on the leg.
Imprint measures how loose or tight the prosthetic fits at different points on the leg.

Problem

Fitting a patient with a prosthetic leg is an imprecise, complicated process. Because many patients lose feeling in their limbs after amputation surgery, they may not know if the pressure in the new prosthetic is correct.

Fitting someone with a prosthetic is a complicated process that often takes hours, but it’s very important. An improper fit could cause sores that are difficult to treat.Caitlin Makatura, Imprint, creator

Solution

Imprint is a pressure-sensing sock that measures how loose or tight the prosthetic fits at different points on the leg. It takes out the guesswork to arrive at the right fit in a shorter amount of time. The sock features a grid of sensors that send information to a computer screen. Using Imprint, prosthetists can pin-point ill-fitting areas within a socket and then make the necessary adjustments to ensure complete patient comfort.

Benefits

Development Process

While a student in the Engineering Design Innovation program, Caitlin Makatura embarked on this project after speaking with and observing prosthetists at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. She originally thought that the project would focus more on the sock’s fabric and less on its technology, but she quickly learned that refining the technical side was just as important.

Current Status

Makatura graduated and is pursuing a career in user experience design. Imprint now resides at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab where researchers continue to develop it.

Updated May 2016

ProgramMS in Engineering Design Innovation (EDI)
CreatorCaitlin Makatura
Thesis MentorCraig Sampson
Community PartnerShirley Ryan AbilityLab
More Like ThisHealthcareImpact

There's something to be said for the crazy person that starts the thing.

Zachary JohnsonCo-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Syndio Social

Innovation is creativity that is implemented. It must influence what we do and how we experience our lives.

Elizabeth GerberAssociate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Engineering sometimes works not by satisfying recognized needs but by creating the needs it satisfies.

Julio OttinoDean, Northwestern Engineering

Empathy is the foundation of design thinking. We want to find needs that are often unarticulated and might be different from what the data show.

Greg HolderfieldDirector, Segal Design Institute
View All Projects