Author ORCID Identifier

Shahrzad Towfighian -

Document Type


Publication Date



instrumented knee, energy harvester, triboelectric, smart knee


Although the number of total knee replacement (TKR) surgeries is growing rapidly, functionality and pain-reduction outcomes remain unsatisfactory for many patients. Continual monitoring of knee loads after surgery offers the potential to improve surgical procedures and implant designs. The goal of this study is to characterize a triboelectric energy harvester under body loads and to design compatible frontend electronics to digitize the load data. The harvester prototype would be placed between the tibial component and polyethylene bearing of a TKR implant. The harvester generates power from the compressive load. To examine the harvester output and the feasibility of powering a digitization circuitry, a triboelectric energy harvester prototype is fabricated and tested. An axial tibiofemoral load profile from normal walking (gait) is approximated as a 1 Hz sine wave signal and is applied to the harvester. Because the root mean square of voltages generated via this phenomenon is proportional to the applied load, the device can be simultaneously employed for energy harvesting and load sensing. With an approximated knee cyclic load of 2.3 kN at 1 Hz, the harvester generated output voltage of 18 V RMS, and an average power of 6 µW at the optimal resistance of 58MΩ. The harvested signal is rectified through a negative voltage converter rectifier and regulated through a linear-dropout regulator with a combined efficiency of 71%. The output of the regulator is used to charge a supercapacitor. The energy stored in the supercapacitor is used for low resolution sensing of the load through a peak detector and analog-to-digital converter. According to our analysis, sensing the load several times a day is feasible by relying only on harvested power. The results found from this work demonstrate that triboelectric energy harvesting is a promising technique for self-powering load sensors inside knee implants.

Publisher Attribution

IOP Publishing --

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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