Within science fiction, and, more recently, within the , there has been consideration given to using advanced prostheses to replace healthy body parts with artificial mechanisms and systems to improve function. The morality and desirability of such technologies are being debated. Body parts such as legs, arms, hands, feet, and others can be replaced.
A is an artificial limb that replaces a leg missing below the knee. Transtibial amputees are usually able to regain normal movement more readily than someone with a transfemoral amputation, due in large part to retaining the knee, which allows for easier movement. In the prosthetic industry a trans-tibial prosthetic leg is often referred to as a "BK" or below the knee prosthesis.
Cosmetic prosthesis has long been used to disguise injuries and disfigurements. With advances in modern technology, , the creation of lifelike limbs made from or has been made possible. Such prosthetics, such as artificial hands, can now be made to mimic the appearance of real hands, complete with freckles, veins, hair, fingerprints and even tattoos. Custom-made cosmeses are generally more expensive (costing thousands of US dollars, depending on the level of detail), while standard cosmeses come ready-made in various sizes, although they are often not as realistic as their custom-made counterparts. Another option is the custom-made silicone cover, which can be made to match a person's skin tone but not details such as freckles or wrinkles. Cosmeses are attached to the body in any number of ways, using an adhesive, suction, form-fitting, stretchable skin, or a skin sleeve.
The majority of prosthetic devices are for below the knee amputees an intimate socket fit will provide improved comfort and gait patterns. Prosthetic devices commonly use silicone, urethane or elastomeric gels fit directed to the residual limb and hold the prosthetic device with or without pin locks. Elevated vacuum socket use is also on the rise and the intimate fit provides better blood flow to the residue limb for greater limb health for the amputee.
Because the new devices are substantially more complex than standard prostheses, the clinicians will need additional training in robotics, the authors point out.In addition to the robotics leg, Goldfarb’s Center for Intelligent Mechatronics has developed an that allows paraplegics to stand up and walk, which led magazine to name him as one of the , and a with a dexterity that approaches that of the human hand. Media Inquiries:
David Salisbury, (615) 322-NEWS
A myoelectric prosthesis uses signals or potentials from voluntarily contracted muscles within a person's residual limb on the surface of the skin to control the movements of the prosthesis, such as elbow flexion/extension, wrist supination/pronation (rotation) or hand opening/closing of the fingers. A prosthesis of this type utilizes the residual neuro-muscular system of the human body to control the functions of an electric powered prosthetic hand, wrist or elbow. This is as opposed to an electric switch prosthesis, which requires straps and/or cables actuated by body movements to actuate or operate switches that control the movements of a prosthesis or one that is totally mechanical. It is not clear whether those few prostheses that provide feedback signals to those muscles are also myoelectric in nature. It has a self suspending socket with pick up electrodes placed over flexors and extensors for the movement of flexion and extension respectively.
A is an artificial limb that replaces an arm missing below the elbow. Two main types of prosthetics are available. Cable operated limbs work by attaching a harness and cable around the opposite shoulder of the damaged arm. The other form of prosthetics available are arms. These work by sensing, via , when the muscles in the moves, causing an artificial hand to open or close. In the prosthetic industry a trans-radial prosthetic arm is often referred to as a "BE" or below elbow prosthesis.
Current body powered arms contain sockets that are built from hard epoxy or carbon fiber. Wrist units are either screw-on connectors featuring the UNF 1/2-20 thread (USA) or quick release connector, of which there are different models. Terminal devices contain a range of hooks, hands or other devices. Hands require a large activation force, which is often uncomfortable. Hooks require a much lower force. Hosmer and Otto Bock are major commercial hook providers. Mechanical hands are sold by Hosmer and Otto Bock as well; the Becker Hand is still manufactured by the Becker family. Prosthetic hands may be fitted with standard stock or custom made cosmetic looking silicone gloves. But regular work gloves may be worn as well. Other terminal devices include the V2P Prehensor, a versatile robust gripper that allows customers to modify aspects of it, Texas Assist Devices (with a whole assortment of tools) and TRS that offers a range of terminal devices for sports. Cable harnesses can be built using aircraft steel cables, ball hinges and self lubricating cable sheaths. Current high tech allows body powered arms to weigh around half to only a third of the weight that a myoelectric arm has.
, a German mercenary, developed a pair of iron hands that could be moved by a series of catches and springs. An Italian surgeon recorded the existence of an amputee who had an arm that allowed him to remove his hat, open his purse, and sign his name. Improvement in amputation surgery and prosthetic design came at the hands of Ambroise Paré. Among his inventions was an above-knee device that was a kneeling peg leg and foot prosthesis with a fixed position, adjustable harness, and knee lock control. The functionality of his advancements showed how future prosthetics could develop.
Around the same time, is also reported to have had an iron hand, as is, in the 1600s century, . During the Dark Ages, prosthetics remained quite basic in form. Debilitated knights would be fitted with prosthetics so they could hold up a shield. Only the wealthy could afford anything that would assist in daily life. During the Renaissance, prosthetics developed with the use of iron, steel, copper, and wood. Functional prosthetics began to make an appearance in the 1500s.
Advancements in the processors used in myoelectric arms has allowed for artificial limbs to make gains in fine tuned control of the prosthetic. The is a recent artificial limb that has taken advantage of these more advanced processors. The arm allows movement in five axes and allows the arm to be programmed for a more customized feel. Recently the , invented in Edinburgh, Scotland, by David Gow has become the first commercially available hand prosthesis with five individually powered digits. The hand also possesses a manually rotatable thumb which is operated passively by the user and allows the hand to grip in precision, power and key grip modes. Raymond Edwards, Acting CEO, was the first amputee to be fitted with the i-LIMB by the in the UK. The hand, manufactured by "" of Scotland (a company), went on sale on 18 July 2007 in Britain. It was named alongside the Large Hadron Collider in magazine's top fifty innovations.
The C-Leg is powered by a housed insidethe prosthesis below the knee joint. (cell is actually locatedwithin the axis of the joint) On a full charge, the C-leg canoperate for up to 45 hours, depending on the intensity of use. Acharging port located on the front of the knee joint can beconnected to a charging cable plugged directly into a standardoutlet.