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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 541383, 7 pages
Research Article

A System Utilizing Metal Hydride Actuators to Achieve Passive Motion of Toe Joints for Prevention of Pressure Ulcers: A Pilot Study

1Department of Mechano-Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
2Human Technology Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Central 6, 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8566, Japan
3School of Nursing and Rehabilitation Science, Showa University, 1865 Tokaichiba, Midori, Yokohama, Kanagawa 226-8555, Japan
4Division of Healthcare Informatics, Faculty of Healthcare, Tokyo Healthcare University, 3-11-3 Setagaya, Setagaya, Tokyo 154-8568, Japan
5Department of Human Science and Informatics, School of Biological Science and Engineering, Tokai University, 1-1-1 Minamisawagojo, Minami, Sapporo, Hokkaido 005-8601, Japan

Received 25 October 2011; Revised 9 February 2012; Accepted 10 February 2012

Academic Editor: Richard Crevenna

Copyright © 2012 Minako Hosono et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes the influence of human toe movement on blood flow and the design of a toe joint passive motion system for preventing pressure ulcers. First, we measured lower extremity blood flow in the foot during active and passive motion of the toe to facilitate the design of new rehabilitation equipment. Also, the flexion and extension angles and the force of the toe joints were measured to determine appropriate specifications for the system. Increases in blood flow were observed at the external malleolus during movement. Flexion and extension angles and the force of the toe joints were found to differ significantly among participants. It is shown that a toe joint passive motion system can be effective in preventing pressure ulcers. On the basis of these results, a device using alloys of metal hydride (MH) as an actuator that is suitable for the system to initiate toe motion, was developed.