Projects, Research Groups, Sensors systems for diagnosis and therapy

HelpMeWalk Project

10. June 2024

The HelpMeWalk project is part of the Science Offensive of the trinational Upper Rhine Metropolitan Region. The project aims to develop an intelligent 3D scanning-textile that takes digital measurements in order to produce orthotics more efficiently.

Prof. Dr. Joris Pascal and his team has been involved for several years in the development of this system, which is attracting a growing number of end-users, right up to their place of training.
Supported by Innosuisse for two years, the project is now expanding to a European level.

The need to reinvent body scanning

Several pathologies require the wearing of an orthosis, a medical device used to compensate for a musculoskeletal disorder. These devices can concern multiple body parts (e.g. arm, hand, knee, ankle, etc.), but they all face a common challenge: a precise adaptation to the patient’s anatomy. In the case of an ankle orthosis, measurements are currently taken using a plaster cast. The orthoprosthetist manually corrects the position of the foot, placing it in its immobilized position, then makes the mold which will then be used to design the orthosis. This procedure is time-consuming and differs from a lack of precision. This sometimes results in the need to make a second version of the orthosis for comfort improvement. Using optical scanners to take precise measurements is impossible due to the obstacles created by the technician’s hands: they cover the foot, which is then no longer completely visible to the optical scanner.

A European consortium

Our University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and its partners – the University of Strasbourg, the Hochschule Kaiserslautern (HSKL) and the Hochschule Furtwangen (HFU) – offer an innovative technological solution for taking measurements: an intelligent bandage equipped with hundreds of magnetic sensors. These provide a set of digitized points representing the anatomical shape enveloped by the bandage, which is then reconstructed using software. These measurements can then be used for the 3D printing of a personalized orthosis.

A promising technology

This technological solution is fast and accurate, which should drastically reduce the time required to design the orthosis and facilitate optimal adaptation of the orthosis, while reducing manufacturing costs. In the long term, the objective for industrial partners will be to market the intelligent 3D imaging bandage so that this innovation can benefit as many people as possible.


The project HelpMeWalk is funded in the framework of the Interreg Upper Rhine Offensive Sciences program for 24 months. The total funding is 935 k€ with 50% coming from the ERDF, 25% from the three regions of the Interreg Upper Rhine program (Grand-Est, Bade Wurtemberg, Rheinland-Pflaz), and 25% of own funding of the partner university. On the top of that French-German funding, Switzerland is also funding the project with 415 k€ distributed as follows: 48% from the Regio Basiliensis (IKRB), 12% from the des partners canton (Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land, and Jura) and 40% of own funding of the FHNW.

Further publications can be found on the official project website.

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