WillowWood & University Partners Sign Contract

February 20, 2013

Contact: Lisa Watkins
740.869.3377 ext. 106


As part of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Innovation Initiative (VAi2) competition, WillowWood, in partnership with The Ohio State University and The University of Akron, has secured a new contract to develop a more comfortable and useful prosthetic system to help patients at VA medical centers who have a transfemoral amputation (above-knee amputee patient). The contract was signed August 10, 2012 and publically announced by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs today.

Last year, WillowWood, The Ohio State University and The University of Akron jointly entered an industry competition to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The annual VAi2 Industry Innovation Competition, first held in 2010, invites industry leaders, start-ups, non-profits, and academic institutions to submit their ideas to improve health care and services for Veterans. In 2011, one of the competition topics focused on solutions that provide improvements in the fit, function, and comfort of prosthetic sockets for veterans with unilateral transfemoral amputations. These amputations involve removal of the leg at the thigh, leaving part of the thigh bone (femur) intact. The proposed solution involves developing an improved suspension system and a socket system made from polymer materials that draw heat away from the limb for enhanced performance and comfort.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the VA,” said Jim Colvin, WillowWood’s director of R&D and principal investigator for the project. “We worked hard to secure this contract and will work even harder to successfully complete it. This is a unique project that will be an exciting challenge for WillowWood and our partners.”

“This is an extraordinary Ohio-based industry-academia-government partnership towards generating real solutions for our amputees,” said Chandan Sen, The Ohio State University’s principal investigator for this project led by WillowWood.

“Our collaboration with OSU also brings together the polymer and biomedical engineering expertise in our own College of Engineering and College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering,” explains Brian Davis, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Akron and Akron’s lead investigator on this project. “The core of this project—to find an optimal polymer for a medical condition—taps into our proud history of innovation in this area.”

The project, which spans 26 months, is intended to provide transfemoral amputees with a more comfortable and durable prosthetic socket system that maintains fit and performance across a wide range of activities. Additionally, through the course of the project, extensive clinical research will be conducted by WillowWood and its partners.

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