Zurich/Dübendorf/Lausanne - Swiss researchers have developed a 3D-printed insole with integrated sensors. The data generated in this way can be used to print customized insoles. This also helps athletes or patients determine performance and therapy progress.

A cross-institutional team of researchers have developed a 3D-printed insole with integrated sensors, as was reported in a press release. The sensors can measure the pressure on the sole of the foot directly in the shoe during various activities, including outdoor workouts. The insoles can therefore be used by athletes or in physiotherapy to measure training or therapy progress, for example.

Until now, creating customized insoles has involved orthopedists using pressure-sensitive mats, which athletes or patients walk over leaving individual footprints. Customized insoles are then made by hand based on this pressure profile.

These new innovative insoles can now be produced in just one step – including the integrated sensors and conductors – using a single 3D printer, called an extruder. This is also shown in a video from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). For printing, the researchers use various inks developed specifically for this application. The generated data can then be read out via a contact installed on the side of the insole. The invention was recently featured in an article in the journal Scientific Reports.

The insole was developed by a team of researchers from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). EPFL researcher Danick Briand coordinated the project and his group supplied the sensors, while the ETH and Empa researchers developed the inks and printing platform. Also involved in the project were the Lausanne University Hospital and orthopedics company Numo from Dietikon in the canton of Zurich. mm

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