Hip and knee replacements are common and highly successful, but fully functional, long-lasting shoulder replacements are only now becoming possible.

While not as common as other joint replacements, shoulder replacement is increasing in use for patients with arthritis. But today, such patients often don’t regain full range of movement following the procedure.

A team of researchers at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering in Middlesex, England, hopes to address this problem by precisely measuring biological joints for better mimicry.

The team plans to insert electronic devices into implants in order to measure forces going through the shoulder. The devices will transmit radio waves containing information about the joint.

“To achieve long-term stability we need to know more precisely the forces the joint is exposed to,” orthopedic surgeon Ian Bayley told the BBC. “We need this data to understand better the biomechanics of the joint, so that the design and fixation of shoulder replacement surgery can be improved.”