Medical Engineering and Physics
This study aimed to investigate normal and shear load sensor technology that has been characterised and used at the human-device interface in prosthetic, orthotic and exoskeleton applications. In addition to taking a cross-disciplinary view, this study expands on previous reviews by considering recently published papers, clinical translation of sensors, and development of the sensor technology itself. A search of MEDLINE, INSPEC, SCOPUS and Web of Science was performed up to 26 January 2021. A total of 33 studies were assessed for quality and their data extracted. The review found variable quality of published papers, with normal load being most commonly measured, and resistive sensor technology most commonly used. The translation to clinical environments was indicated in most studies, though the study population was not always made up of the target users. Studies could benefit from more direct comparison with clinically relevant load thresholds and by ensuring clinical testing is performed in the most realistic and representative way possible. Additionally, more focus on developing sensors that measure shear loads would enable further insights into conditions at the human-device interface. Finally, all researchers would benefit from better and more widespread anonymous data sharing practices to facilitate further experimentation.