The FLEx (or Flexible Load Evaluation Transducer) is an array of 4 pressure sensors integrated into a flexible insole for measuring load in key locations under the foot. The intent of this device is to be used in a range of applications. These may include use by clinicians as a rehabilitation tool for various injuries, walking pathologies or the use of prosthetics. Also, by researchers, as a tool for data collection to study sports, motion, and other applications. Some advantages that the FLEx offers are: a package that is versatile, flexible, and portable, continuous data recording over extended time periods, and sensor quality.
The FLEx project was started in the Hitchcock Lab in Spring 2015 as a next step for the technologies developed for the WRAPS/MAP and ATLAS projects. As the market for wearable technology has increased in size and in variety of sensor types, so has the acceptability of such sensors among users. This has opened up the possibility of creating sensors for new applications which previously might not have been considered viable for adoption. The devices previously developed in the lab have been verified and tested extensively, and proven to be extremely accurate and reliable as pressure sensors. In the FLEx the same sensor type and the basic design of incompressible gel in a semi-rigid housing is combined with a new-generation chip. This technology is combined with a more flexible, configurable, and low-profile housing to create a reliable and adaptable tool which will be able to serve in multiple applications, with the goal of informing and improving patient care.