Wireless-telemetry and optical-fibre-sensors for multidirectional spinal load mapping

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Low back pain (LBP) is a problem of epidemic proportions with a lifetime prevalence that exceeds 80%. LBP is frequently due to the failures of the intervertebral disc leading to herniation of the inner disc material, and subsequent irritation and/or mechanical compression of nerves. The aim of this project is to develop a tool for accurate mapping of multidirectional loads acting on the spine during physiological bending motions, using wireless-telemetry and fibre-Bragg-grating based optical-sensing technologies. The tool will provide load-sensing capabilities to the next generation of spinal implants, which will be immensely useful in developing patient-specific postoperative rehabilitation regimen.

An ideal candidate for this project will have a background in spine biomechanics with a clinical understanding of low back pain, wireless-telemetry, and load-mapping using optical-fibre-sensors. The HDR will be expected to have the following technical skills:

  • Finite element modelling of the spine using computed tomography data
  • In vitro biomechanical testing on cadaveric spine specimens
  • Experience with/knowledge of polymer optical fibre fabrication
  • Experience with/knowledge of various medical telemetry frequency bands (WMTS, ISM, MICS)
Supervisory team

Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

St George Clinical School

University of Wollongong
Engineering and Information Sciences