A Force-Sensing Insole to Quantify Impact Loading to the Foot
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Lower leg injuries commonly occur in frontal automobile collisions, and are associated with high disability rates. Accurate methods to predict these injuries must be developed to facilitate the testing and improvement of vehicle safety systems. Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) are often used to assess injury risk by mimicking the behavior of the human body in a crash while recording data from sensors at discrete locations, which are then compared to established safety limits developed by cadaveric testing. Due to the difference in compliance of cadaveric and ATD legs, the force dissipating characteristics of footwear, and the lack of direct measurement of injury risk to the foot and ankle, a novel instrumented insole was developed that could be applied equally to all specimens both during injury limit generation and during safety evaluation tests. An array of piezoresistive sensors were calibrated over a range of speeds using a pneumatic impacting apparatus, and then applied to the insole of a boot. The boot was subsequently tested and compared to loads measured using ankle and toe load cells in an ATD, and found to have an average error of 10%. The sensors also provided useful information regarding the force distribution across the sole of the foot during an impact, which may be used to develop regional injury criteria. This work has furthered the understanding of lower leg injury prediction and developed a tool that may be useful in developing accurate injury criteria in the future for the foot and lower leg.
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