Actuators for a Lymph Sleeve
The “Lymph Sleeve” application is a new project involving Professor Julie Steele and Dr Bridget Munro from the Biomechanics Research Laboratory, University of Wollongong.
The aim is provide a useful solution to the problem of lymphedema- the build of lymphatic fluids in the arms and legs that can lead to swelling, heaviness, pain and discomfort.
One effective treatment is manual massage, but requires the patient to visit a trained lymphatic massage therapist. Compression garments are commonly prescribed, but these tend to be difficult to put on, hot in summer and can cause rashes and other skin problems.
Our dream is to produce a light weight sleeve that incorporates bands of our artificial muscles along with fabric pressure sensors.
As the bands contract the pressure will assist in the drainage of lymphatic fluids.
We also hope that relaxing the bands will make putting the sleeve on a much easier process.
This project is in its infancy, but already we have developed a small prototype consisting of a single contracting band that is able to pump fluid.
Reference: G.M. Spinks, Australasian Science, March 2012, 19-21.