The Prosthetics and Orthotics Manufacturing Initiative (POMI) at Columbia, South Carolina-based SCRA’s Applied R&D sector was awarded a Przirembel Prize for Collaboration in Technology and Product Development at the InnoVenture Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, on May 3. The winning project resulted in a prosthetic socket that is 50 percent lighter, more comfortable and durable, is produced quickly, has a longer lifecycle, and costs about 34 percent less to than traditionally manufactured sockets. The project, led by SCRA Program Manager Chris Norfolk, PhD, on behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was initiated to aid in the care of wounded warriors returning to combat, according to an SCRA press release.
The Przirembel Prize was created to recognize collaborations across diverse organizations in the Southeastern United States that are significant to those outside the region, according to the InnoVenture website.
The POMI, an effort funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program, resulted in the commercialization of two technologies to date: the SensorTech Zebra™, a high-resolution 3D pressure-mapping sensor system that measures pressures exerted by patients on prosthetic systems during all phases of use; and an automated manufacturing method that makes braided sockets in about 15 seconds and uses shape-memory composite materials. Currently under development, according to Norfolk, is an in-liner active cooling system. This project is slated for completion later this year.
“SCRA is honored to receive this recognition for our prosthetics work,” said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. “We have a strong history of excellence in creating and managing successful collaborations and transitioning technologies from development to application. This initiative has helped to advance the mobility and comfort of prosthetics for our men and women in uniform returning to duty, and is a strong example of the collaborative innovations emerging from South Carolina that build our ‘knowledge economy.’”