We hear about IP ratings across a variety of different products and industries. You may have learned about them if you’ve ever dropped your smartphone in water (we’ve all been there). But what do they mean, and how do they impact prosthetic devices? We’re glad you asked!
What is an IP rating?
IP codes/ratings, or Ingress Protection Code, outline the degree to which a device is protected against various intrusions, contact, corrosion, dust, and water. Some other common products that hold IP ratings are electrical sockets, light bulbs, automotive parts, and more. This standard is set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and aims to provide users with a deeper understanding of their devices beyond vague descriptors like “waterproof” and “water-resistant,” because there are varying levels within each of those terms.
What do the numbers in an IP rating mean?
The numbers that follow “IP” each have a specific meaning. The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against solid objects like dust and sand. The second digit rates a device’s protection against liquids and uses a scale of 0 (no protection) to 9 (high-pressure water from different angles).
Why do prosthetic devices need an IP rating?
IP ratings are extremely important for prosthetic devices because they become part of everyday human activities that might come into contact with solids, like sand, and different kinds of water. Where a device can go is crucial information in deciding what’s the best option for individuals seeking a prosthetic limb. For example, if a prosthetic user wants to be able to spend time in/around water, the IP rating of a product would be a huge deciding factor.
What options does Ottobock offer when it comes to IP ratings?
Let’s focus on Ottobock’s Microprocessor Knees (MPKs). These are intuitive prosthetic knees for above-knee amputees that have a small microprocessor in them that is always processing data as a user moves. The device must be protected from outside irritants to preserve the data in the microprocessor.
IP68 Rating: Ottobock X3
- The X3 has the highest rating on any MPK on the market. No other MPK has an IP68 rating.*
- An IP68 rating means it’s protected from dust, sand, dirt, and water.
- It is waterproof AND corrosion resistant in salt, fresh, and chlorinated water. Corrosion resistance is a huge benefit because other MPKs may be okay with temporary submersion or contact with water, but there’s a risk of corrosion. IP68 means the X3 is even protected from that!
IP67 Rating: Ottobock C-Leg 4 and Genium
- The IP67 rating means these two MPKs are protected from dust, sand, dirt, and temporary submersion in freshwater.
- These are both water-resistant, but not corrosion resistant.
- While many MPKs can say they have an IP67 rating, not all can say that they have helped over 100,000 users walk confidently in the last 25 years the way Ottobock’s revolutionary C-Leg has.
IP22 Rating: Ottobock Kenevo
- The Kenevo is protected from solid objects greater than 12.5mm in size.
- It is not waterproof or corrosion-resistant, but it is protected from dripping water.
- This is an MPK designed specifically for lower mobility users.
So, why is this important information?
Having accurate and detailed information is key in making an informed decision about which prosthetics device makes sense for a user. Equipping users with a device that can lead them where they want to go with confidence is an important part of the journey.
For more information on IP ratings and Ottobock products, click here.
*Wismer, N., Mileusnic, M., Sreckovic, I., & Hahn, A. (2016).