novel was the first company in the world who developed a commercially available Pedography® system. With more than 25 years of experience, novel is the leader in accurate and reliable pressure distribution measurement systems. Outstanding scientific software for the analysis of medical and industrial data allows the user to be always one step ahead.
novel gmbh, a Munich (Germany) firm specializing in dynamic pressure distribution measurement (DPDM) technology, was founded in 1978 by cyberneticist Peter Seitz.
For space travelers, novel developed a system to assess body load for the International Space Station project. novel is a DPDM global leader in areas such as medicine, biomechanics and industry.
Measurement Systems on the Leading Edge
novel has developed three system families tailored to specific applications: pliance, pedar, and emed. The systems measure contact pressures between many surfaces, for example between a hand and tool, the buttocks and chair, and a car door rubber seal and car door.
The pliance system was designed to work with soft surface applications. Primary areas of application for this system are measurements on aircraft and car seats, office chairs, and wheelchairs.
pliance analyzers such as those used at the Audi factories and Daimler Chrysler can scan up to 12,000 sensors. These systems have the capability to be synchronized with other measuring instruments including motion capture systems.
For horseback riders, it is currently possible to assess the interaction between the horse, saddle and rider in various movements. In the future, riders could expect to work with a horse that was analyzed using a novel DPDM system.
The pedar system specializes in in-shoe measurement. Footwear companies such as NIKE Inc, PUMA or Mizuno are committed users of this technology. The pedar mobile system, which enables testing of foot function during activities, aids in footwear design for improved comfort and injury prevention. The pedar system has also been used by orthopaedic shoemakers to assess design and fit of orthotics and shoes.
The emed system utilizes a sensor platform for barefoot DPDM. Currently it is being used in diabetic foot care clinics and pediatric orthopaedic medical centers. emed is often used to assess improvements made to feet during surgery.
Development of emed Pedography for Functional Diagnostics
In the early 1980´s the first studies were published by Boulton, Betts and Duckworth about the use of pedography in medical diagnostics for the diabetic foot. Inspired by these publications from England, researchers Kirsch, Hauser, Schaff and Seitz carried out the first attempts in Germany to examine pressure alterations on the diabetic neuropathic foot. emed sensor technology allowed precise electronic dynamic pressure measurements for the first time in history. The preliminary tests using the system showed noticeable discrepancies between the neuropathic foot and the healthy foot. In a 1984 project, sponsored by BMFT, the research group, Diabetes Munich studied feet of more than 600 diabetics with novel systems under the guidance of Professor Helmut Mehnert. As a result of this work, many emed systems are used for examining diabetic feet in leading research centers in the United States of America, Japan, Australia, and many other countries.
Measuring Loads on the Body
Another focus of novel's work is studying loads applied to the human body during daily activities.
The systems can be used to aid ergonomic improvements in the workplace for injury prevention by assessing loads that exceed acceptable levels. In a european research project carried out in association with the University of Ancona, Italy, a new method was developed to determine the transfer of vibrations from a tool to the body.
Using this information, tools can then be improved and/or developed that cause less stress to the body. The latest application area is assessing DPDM and force measurements that occur in artificial knee and hip joints. The length of time an artificial joint will remain functional depends on how well the joint is fitted. novel systems can support surgeons during surgery with an imaging method for fitting.
In a future project, novel will be working with a large manufacturer in developing a measuring system that is integrated into the artificial joint. This instrumented artificial joint will transmit a warning signal when it is improperly loaded.