Does Motorized Prosthetics Improve the Lives of Amputees Adeptly?
Motorized prostheses are an increasingly popular form of prosthetic limb that can help people with disabilities to regain mobility and independence. With recent advancements in technology, motorized prostheses are more sophisticated and capable than ever before.
An amputation is a life-changing event that can severely limit a person’s mobility and independence. However, with recent advancements in technology, motorized prosthetics have emerged as a promising solution to help amputees regain their lost abilities.
Recently, researchers at the University of Oxford have developed a new prosthetic hand that can be powered by breathing for teenagers and children. The device utilizes breathing to power a small purpose turbine built by Tesla that allows children to control the prosthetic finger movements.
Moreover, according to a report published by Research Dive, the increased number of amputations across the globe due to the rising incidences of chronic diseases such as cancer, and diabetes along with the rising cases of accidents are expected to propel the growth of the global motorized prosthesis market in the upcoming years. The market is anticipated to generate a revenue of $154.1 million and grow at a striking CAGR of 11.2% over the estimated timeframe from 2022 to 2031. The major players of the market include Orthotics, Arm Dynamics, Faulhaber Group, Bionic Prosthetics, and many more.
The field of prosthetics has seen a lot of development over the years. Some of the recent developments in motorized prosthetics are discussed below:
- Use of Myoelectric Control: Myoelectric prostheses use electrodes attached to the surface of the skin to pick up electrical signals generated by muscle contractions. These signals are then translated into commands that control the movement of the prosthesis. Myoelectric control allows users to perform a wide range of movements with greater precision and accuracy than other types of prostheses.
- Use of Advanced Materials: Another trend in motorized prostheses is the use of advanced materials such as carbon fiber and titanium. These materials are lightweight, strong, and durable, making them ideal for use in prosthetic limbs. Carbon fiber is particularly popular because it can be molded into complex shapes, making it possible to create prostheses that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
- Use of Machine Learning Algorithms: Machine learning algorithms can analyze data from sensors embedded in the prosthesis and adjust its movement patterns in real-time to better match the user’s intentions. This can result in more natural and intuitive movements, making the prosthesis easier and more comfortable to use.
The real intention behind designing prosthetics is to mimic the movement and functionality of natural limbs and are believed to offer a range of benefits to amputees. Motorized prosthetics have the potential to improve the quality of life of amputees significantly. They can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with traditional prosthetics. This is because motorized prosthetics are designed to distribute weight more evenly, reducing the pressure on specific areas of the body and minimizing discomfort. Some of the real-life instances are discussed below:
Hugh Herr, a world-renowned researcher, and engineer lost both of his legs in a climbing accident but went on to create motorized prosthetics that allowed him to resume his active lifestyle. With his prosthetics, Herr has climbed some of the most challenging mountain routes in the world, and even set a speed record for climbing the Nose of EI Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Similarly, Zac Vawter lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident and received a motorized prosthetic as part of a clinical trial. With his prosthetic, Vawter was able to climb 103 flights of stairs to the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago, becoming the first person to complete this feat with a bionic leg.
Moreover, in December 2022, Tommaso Lenzi, a professor at the University of Utah mechanical engineering developed Utah Bionic Leg, a motorized prosthetic for lower-limb amputees. With this motorized prosthetic, amputees can walk, stand up, sit down, and easily ascend and descend stairs or ramps.
Are Motorized Prosthetics a Great Alternative for People with Disabilities?
Motorized prostheses are an exciting and rapidly evolving field of technology. With advancements in materials, control systems, and sensors, these devices are becoming more capable and sophisticated with every passing year. Meanwhile, the emergence of exoskeletons is opening new possibilities for people with mobility impairments. As this technology continues to develop, we can expect to see even more innovative and life-changing devices for people with disabilities in the years to come.
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