Joan Sanders, professor of UW Bioengineering, and her team received the Bryan and Joyce Blatchford Team Prize for Innovation for their exciting work developing a self-adjusting prosthetic. The Sanders team was presented €15,000 ($16,454) at the ISPO 19th World Congress in Guadalajara, MX on April 27.

Established by the Blatchford family to honor the memory of Mr. Brian Blatchford and Mrs. Joyce Blatchford, the prize is awarded to a team that has an outstanding record of innovative achievement in the field of prosthetics and/or orthotics related to prosthetic and/or orthotic hardware, or scientifically based new techniques that result in better prostheses or orthotics.

Sanders and her team have designed a prosthetic leg that automatically adjusts its fit throughout the day. Her group designs, builds and tests prosthetics for people with below-the-knee amputations. Their latest prototype alters its fit without the need for adjustments to padding or user action. It detects in real time how well the prosthesis socket fits the residual limb and responds by automatically changing the size of the socket. The team has been testing the prosthesis in a virtual reality military simulator at the Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas.

In a letter to Sanders about the award ISPO President Claude Tardif wrote, “On behalf of the ISPO Executive Board and Scientific Committee, we are very pleased to announce that the work of your team on the adjustable socket as the result of decades of dedicated research and insight on amputees’ body segments interfaces has been selected to be awarded with the ISPO Brian & Joyce Blatchford Award 2023.”