Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

We suck at attaching objects to people

Arthur Petron (MIT Media Laboratory)
2:55pm–3:35pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Southside Theater (Bldg D)
Slides:   external link,   2-PDF 

The design of comfortable, load-transferring devices — such as shoes, bike seats, backpacks, or prosthetic sockets — for attachment to humans in a quantitative way is currently beyond our technological abilities. The process of bearing load through the body’s external tissue must be better understood in order to reduce the effort required for comfortable, load-bearing attachment to the body.

An increased understanding in the area of the mechanical deformation of the body under load to a high resolution can provide the necessary quantitative information to design comfortable, load-transferring devices.<

This talk will focus on prosthetic sockets for lower limb amputees; however, in general load-bearing objects are not designed with a quantitative, scientific understanding of the mechanical deformation of the body’s tissue. This results in an unacceptable number of uncomfortable, unhealthy sockets.

Uncomfortable sockets force their users to endure discomfort in order to interact with a world design for bipedal ambulation. This is a problem. A more objective understanding of the mechanical properties of the biological tissue interface make it possible to mechanically couple with the body more efficiently. Load transfer between an object and its wearer will be more comfortable, healthy, and directly coupled. New objects that attach efficiently to the body can be designed more rapidly upon a scientific framework rather than artisanal guesswork.

Photo of Arthur Petron

Arthur Petron

MIT Media Laboratory

Arthur is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomechatronics Group. He specializes in robotic measurement systems for biomedical system identification. Arthur seeks to increase the efficiency of productivity in order to allow people to get more, higher quality, better thought-out ideas transformed into real things. The purpose of this is to increase the quality of life of as many people as possible by 1) making their goals easier to attain, and consequently 2) making those effected by these goals have the ability to live life more in line with their desires. In short, he tries to make it easier for people to get things done. In the Biomechatronics Group, this is done by making devices that help create more comfortable sockets for those with amputations.