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BACKGROUND: Numerous sensing techniques have been investigated in an effort to monitor the main parameters influencing the residual limb/prosthesis interface, fundamental to the optimum design of prosthetic socket solutions. Sensing integration within sockets is notoriously complex and can cause user discomfort. A personalised prosthetic liner with embedded sensors could offer a solution. However, to allow for a functional and comfortable instrumented liner, highly customised designs are needed. The aim of this paper is to presents a novel approach to manufacture fully personalised liners using scanned three-dimensional image data of the patient's residual limb, combined with designs that allow for sensor integration. To demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach, a personalised liner with embedded temperature and humidity sensors was realised and tested on a transtibial amputee, presented here as a case study. METHODS: The residual limb of a below knee amputee was first scanned and a three-dimensional digital image created. The output was used to produce a personalised prosthesis. The liner was manufactured using a cryogenic Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining approach. This method enables fast, direct and precise manufacture of soft elastomer products. Twelve Hygrochron Data Loggers, able to measure both temperature and humidity, were embedded in specific liner locations, ensuring direct sensor-skin contact. The sensor locations were machined directly into the liner, during the manufacturing process. The sensors outputs were assessed on the below amputee who took part in the study, during resting (50 min) and walking activities (30 min). To better describe the relative thermal properties of new liner, the same tests were repeated with the amputee wearing his existing liner. Quantitative comparisons of the thermal properties of the new liner solution with that currently used in clinical practice are, therefore, reported. RESULTS: The liner machining process took approximately 4 h. Fifteen minutes after donning the prosthesis, the skin temperature reached a plateau. Physical activity rapidly increased residuum skin temperatures, while cessation of activity caused a moderate decrease. Humidity increased throughout the observation period. In addition, the new liner showed better thermal properties with respect to the current liner solution (4% reduction in skin temperature). CONCLUSIONS: This work describes a personalised liner solution, with embedded temperature and humidity sensors, developed through an innovative approach. This new method allows for a range of sensors to be smoothly embedded into a liner, which is capable of measuring changes in intra-socket microclimate conditions, resulting in the design of advanced socket solutions personalised specifically for individual requirements. In future, this method will not only provide a personalised liner but will also enable dynamic assessment of how a residual limb behaves within the socket during daily activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalBioMedical Engineering OnLine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2020


  • Cryogenic CNC machining
  • Humidity
  • Lower limb
  • Prosthetic liner
  • Prosthetic socket
  • Temperature
  • Transtibial amputation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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