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A Prosthetic Socket System with an Unprecedented Degree of Multifunctionality and Integration

Tech ID:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Chun (Chuck) Zhang
Licensing Manager:

The proposed prosthetic Socket Optimized for Comfort with Advanced Technologies (SOCAT) integrate advanced materials, nanotechnology, electronics, and manufacturing technologies to achieve a prosthetic socket system with an unprecedented degree of multifunctionality and integration to meet the critical needs for advanced prostheses for patients. Despite the significant advances made in the past decade in the area of prosthetics, discomfort and adverse effects on the skin as a result of poor fit, elevated temperatures and moisture accumulation within the prosthetic socket are still a major problem.

The proposed SOCAT invention utilizes four enabling technologies augmented with a product integration design to form a holistic above-knee socket system to resolve the issues mentioned above:

  1. Volume/shape change management will be realized with advanced materials that sense and respond to external stimuli, such as pressure changes due to either volume changes as a result of residual limb swelling or muscle tissue shape changes during a gait cycle
  2. Pistoning control and skin breakdown prevention will be realized via an innovative interface material embedded with nanoparticles
  3. Temperature and sweat control will be achieved by solid state active cooling using an array of miniature thermoelectric devices in combination with nanomaterials and phase change materials; and
  4. Lightweight piezoelectric nanofoam pressure sensors and printed electronic temperature and moisture sensors fully embedded in liners will provide the patient with an early warning of adverse situations, such as abnormal pressure suggesting improper gait or pistoning, and allow the practitioner to remotely collect real-time data for subsequent analysis.


  • Fully integrated product design that addresses major concerns of current sockets while minimizing parasitic parts and devices
  • Lightweight, multifunctional material-enabled socket system
  • Adaptive volume change management with coupled sensing/actuation materials
  • Biomimetic materials for anti-microbial function and pistoning control
  • Thermal management and perspiration control with solid state active cooling in conjunction with novel nanomaterials and phase changing materials
  • Whole-field pressure monitoring by innovative lightweight piezoelectric materials
  • Embedded printed electronics interconnects for sensing, wireless communication and local data storage