For diabetics, lower limb amputations are, unfortunately, a harsh fact of life.

Liberating Technologies
Liberating Technologies, a company that makes prosthetic limbs, is trying to change that reality. The Holliston-based company is in the process of developing a product that will help those stricken with that illness avoid those amputations.

And it is a stimulus award that is helping the company achieve that goal.

"We're really excited," said Todd Farrell, senior research engineer at Liberating Technologies.

This past April the company was informed that it was awarded just under $200K through a stimulus-funded phase one Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to determine the feasibility of developing a device that can be incorporated into a prosthesis to improve the circulation in the remaining limbs of that amputee.

Liberating Technologies

According to Farrell, the number of diabetics in the country is anticipated to increase by two and half times within the next 40 years. As the disease progresses, patients often develop foot ulcers, which frequently become infected. The problem is the ulcers cause the patient to lose sensation, so they often don't realize their foot is infected until it is too late.

Recovery Act Impact: Liberating Technologies

  • $199,686K award

  • Feasibility study on device to help diabetics avoid amputations

  • Implementation of study will involve expanded offices in Holliston

  • Hiring additional employees

While for most people, blood usually flows adequately those who have experienced a first amputation tend to be more sedentary, lessening their blood flow and their ability to heal those infections.

The intermittent compression device that Liberating Technologies is in the process of developing will increase the blood flow to the remaining limb by providing ongoing massage and help ensure that any infections that develop will heal rather than lead to amputation. The company's plan is to insert the compression device directly into the casing of a prosthetic leg, making it easier for amputees to be mobile.

Liberating Technologies

Farrell noted that people who use intermittent compression are seven times less likely to have an amputation.

"The solution is so elegantly simple," said Farrell. "It's not invasive and it has no side effects. It really seems like there is something there."

If as anticipated, Liberating Technologies moves on to phase two of the SBIR grant Farrell said the company plans to expand and hire additional employees.

"I was proud as a peacock that we got this award," said Farrell.