July 28, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Time for an Upgrade
What to expect for the future of bionic arms, legs, and more!
Here’s a look at some exciting developments in the world of prosthetics:
A new, innovative charity e-NABLE is working to change the lives of children amputees everywhere, printing one helping hand at a time.
e-NABLE is an organization of 7, 000 volunteers that have shipped 1800 prosthetic hands to children in 45 countries world-wide. Volunteers make prosthetic hands, fingers, and upper limbs using templates and a 3D printer. Charity founder, Iven Owen, had distributed the templates online in the public domain. Later that year, a website was created so people who needed a prosthetic hand could locate a volunteer close by. With a low supply cost for the materials needed to make these prosthetics, they are quickly becoming an ideal donation for those who might not have been able to own a prosthetic hand before. The hands are medically approved, but e-NABLE advises that people should consult with their doctor before going ahead and ordering one. The hands were designed for congenital amputees who still have their palm, and 30 degree movement of their wrists or use of their elbow. The design was inspired by a prototype invented in 1845 by an Australian named Dr. Robert Norman.
Leg prosthetics are also seeing exciting developments with the use of nerves and computers to increase efficiency and give back amputee’s independence.
Ottobock, an American company, has a product that uses Blue Tooth to help their prosthetic stabilize, change pace, balance, flex, and even walk backwards. The prosthetic, which the company calls the C-Leg is a prosthetic leg that goes above your knee, and has been proven in numerous clinical studies to prevent falls more than conventional prosthetics. C-Leg was created to move as much like a normal leg as possible. It works through sensors monitoring your walking patterns, sending information to the C-Leg’s microprocessor giving the user control. The C-leg also adjusts to whatever surface the user walks on. It even comes with its own Android app, MyModes, which can set up the knee through Blue Tooth to perform activities like biking and dancing.
In Dallas, a University of Texas professor Dr. Robert Gregg has managed to help amputees walk better by applying robot control theory to the human walk. Focusing on one aspect to measure someone’s gait, which the centre of the foot was chosen, Dr. Gregg found that the robotic legs when used by amputees, were able to adjust and respond to differences in pace and speed without having being told to do so. They were also able to go up to speeds of one metre per second, which is close to the average speed of an able-bodied person, which is 1.3 metres.
One of the newest prosthetic arms will allow users to be able to control it through the brain. Developed by John Hopkins University, the robotic arm (Modular Prosthetic Limb) is designed to tap into the amputated arm’s nerve sensors, with each arm having up to a hundred possible sensors, and move by using brain signals sent into the nerve endings. Besides amputees, the arm could also be sued to help quadriplegics and stroke survivors who have lost the ability to move their bodies. The New York Times reported that the robotic arm also has 26 joints and can curl up to 45 pounds. While revolutionary the arms are quite expensive, with only 10 made and each costing up to $500,000. The next step researchers are taking is trying to lower the cost of production to make the prosthetic a possibility for consumers within a few years.
Article prepared by Ariel Deutschmann
For more information about e-NABLE, check out the following links:
More information on each subject can be found in the following links: