Loss of limb is irreversible. The human body is a fine-tuned and highly optimized organism; a loss of any component challenges its functionality. The ill-effects of the loss of a limb extend far beyond the domain of functionality. The loss of a limb renders an individual helpless and to some extent dependent on friends and family. People with dependence on their limbs for daily bread suffer the most. Amputations are extreme measures taken in order to save a life. An accident with a bad wound, a rapidly spreading cancer or an infection can result in amputation of a limb.
The developments in the field of prostheses are fueled by this particular need. This need is not restricted to an individual level. The increasing load of amputations slows down the progress of entire societies. In this era of neurosciences, the biggest gain perhaps is the emergence of bionic prostheses. A bionic prosthesis is controlled by the residual limb itself. The residual muscles left after an amputation generates an EMG signal while contraction and extension. This EMG signal is picked up by EMG sensors placed in a non-invasive manner on the skin. The EMG signal is then processed by an onboard microcomputer. This microcomputer translates the EMG signals into gestures and actions in accordance with the hardware support.
Today we will discuss the key features expected in a bionic prosthesis and the ways to assess the quality of a prosthesis. And perhaps tally the robotic prosthetic arm cost with real-life expectations.
Human life is incomplete without water. And for many dust and wind are the constant companions. A bionic prosthesis made for humans must have some degree of resistance to dust and water. The electronics, a bionic prosthesis packs are delicate and need close attention for long-lasting performance. But inbuilt protection is essential for hand and lower limb prosthesis, and are expected to be provided by the manufacturer.
The wielding experience depends on the hygiene, comfort and ergonomics of a prosthesis. In order to address the comfort and ergonomics question manufacturers are utilizing superhydrophobic materials like silicone elastomers as inner liners. These materials are soft and hydrophobic hence far from entertaining friction and wet infections. The ergonomics depend on the springs and the frame of a prosthesis. A good prosthesis will ensure a good wielding experience and ease of use.
Computer, actions and sensors
The actions a prosthesis can perform depends on the sensors, computer and hardware of the device. The sensitivity of a sensor determines the amount of input it can receive and the speed of reception. The quality of a sensor also determines the quality of reception, in this case, it is mostly gain. How efficiently these receptions will be processed depends on the computer and the actions followed by this processing depends on the hardware. Usually, prostheses with more sensitivity and actions are more expensive than usual. A powerful onboard computer can change a prosthesis fundamentally. But in order to exploit the full potential of a powerful computer the accompanying hardware must support the necessary amount of toil. Only a matched set of components in terms of capability can transform a prosthesis into something better than the usual. Upgradation of one component alone can not deliver the promise of a better experience.
Materials in use
Alongside superhydrophobic materials like silicone elastomers, Manufacturers are utilizing materials with high strength to weight ratio. Carbon fibre is a likely candidate utilized widely by prosthesis manufacturers. The materials in use determine the amount of effort a prosthesis needs in order to deliver the necessary amount of performance.
The durability of a prosthesis depends on the quality of materials used for the build. And the comfort and ease of use depend on the weight and smoothness of the build.
Additionally, A delicate instrument like a bionic prosthesis requires periodic service and upgrades for continued performance. An average bionic prosthesis packs a lot of delicate examples of electronics. Hence, it is impossible to service and retain the empowering experience from home. A manufacturer providing a service opportunity should receive preference from the wise buyer due to the presence of these necessary facts.