Professor Sherry Towfighian PhD Mechanical Engineering Binghamton University  

Knee Implants: Electrical Energy Harvested From Walking Can Power Sensors Interview with:

Professor Sherry Towfighian PhD Mechanical Engineering Binghamton University  

Prof. Towfighian

Professor Sherry Towfighian PhD
Mechanical Engineering
Binghamton University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: We wanted to avoid using batteries in a load monitor that can be placed in total knee replacement. We looked into energy scavenging technologies and studied the most appropriate one for this application. Energy scavenging is converting wasted energy such as walking to electricity for low power sensors.

Our research study showed walking can provide enough electrical energy (about 6 microwatts) for low power load sensors. These load sensors are important in providing information about the mechanical load throughout different activities. It can be used in the future to create a self -awareness device for the patient to avoid certain activities. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Sensors can revolutionize biomedical devices to enable out of hospital monitoring and care. People from multiple disciplines can get together to enables devices with useful capabilities that are not otherwise possible from single discipline. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This monitoring concept can be extended to other biomedical implants that can add load monitoring to extend the implant lifetime, avoid wear and subsequent surgical interventions. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: I would like to say I am grateful to my collaborators: Dr. Emre Salman from Stony Brook University and Dr. Ryan Willing from University of Western Ontario. Dr. Salman has developed the sensing circuit, Dr. Willing has worked on the implant design and packaging. I have worked on the energy scavenging mechanism from mechanical motion.

We have not filed a disclosure yet, but that is in our plans.


Alwathiqbellah Ibrahim, Manav Jain, Emre Salman, Ryan Willing, Shahrzad Towfighian. A smart knee implant using triboelectric energy harvesters. Smart Materials and Structures, 2019; 28 (2): 025040 DOI: 10.1088/1361-665X/aaf3f1

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Feb 2, 2019 @ 2:18 am

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