The loss of a limb is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a person. What was considered an irreversible accident in the past has now come under the most important advances in medical sciences. Prosthetic hand, prosthetic arm, and prosthetic leg have made it possible for amputees to live a normal life. Prosthetics in the recent past has served as a life-changing experience especially for the leg amputees and hand amputees. The limitation in mobility that the leg amputees suffered was really one of the painful hindrances in their lives. The hand amputees found it very difficult to engage in effective social interactions in the past. With the help of a prosthetic arm, all their limitations have been overcome. It is important to understand the detailed functioning of the prosthetic hands and legs.
The functioning of prosthetic hands and legs
The prosthetic hands and legs serve as the most vital parts of the amputees and integrate them back both physically and mentally into their social life. Amputees often use prosthetic limbs for cosmetic purposes only. This is called passive prosthetics and has little to do with the normal functioning of a particular limb. The main aim of wearing prosthetic hands for cosmetic purposes is to make the limb natural in its appearance.
As medical technology has advanced into new states of development, the domain of prosthetics has also undergone a Paradigm shift. There are a lot of options available for amputees now. Ranging from body-powered prosthetic arms to chargeable and AI-powered arms, prosthetic technology has really come a long way.
Body-powered prosthetic technology mainly relies on various types of cables that are connected to the shoulders or chest and rely on pressure differences to carry out the movement. On the other hand prosthetic arms that are powered with the help of artificial intelligence technology are fitted with electrodes and sensors to enable communication with the brain and the arm. This is much more of the extension of the natural part of the body in an artificial way. The movement that is carried out with the help of artificial intelligence power devices is much more synchronous in nature as compared to the mechanical parts.
In the present time, we are also seeing the emergence of myoelectric arms and hands. The myoelectric parts rely on various types of sensors that can detect electrical impulses and serve as inputs to carry out a particular moment. Myoelectric devices usually rely on chargeable devices and are really easy to use. These devices can also be detached as per will. On the other hand, the devices powered by artificial intelligence are installed with the help of surgery and cannot be removed.
In addition to the above-mentioned procedures, there is also a hybrid technology that is becoming popular. The hybrid technology relies on both body-powered mechanics as well as myoelectric prosthesis. The hybrid technology is suitable for amputees who have suffered relatively higher damage in their limbs and require customized prosthetic attachment.
The prosthetic material
The material that is used for fabricating different types of prosthetic limbs should be lightweight as well as durable in nature. This means that polymer technology has a lot of role to play in prosthetics. Materials like polyethylene and polypropylene are very suitable for fabricating prosthetic attachments. Based on the functionality that a particular prosthetic part is slated to provide, we may also make use of metals like aluminum and titanium which are very lightweight in nature. Silicon is also used as fabricating material for electronic prosthetics that are fitted with Bluetooth technology. In addition to this, we also make use of thermoplastics so that a particular prosthetic attachment is customized in accordance with the needs of the user. The thermoplastic material allows the attachment to be tailored in a natural way by heating and shaping it at a later stage.
Prosthetic technology has drastically advanced and matured in the last few years. Credit goes to the technologies like artificial Intelligence that have played a pivotal role in this advancement. We may expect further advances in prosthetic technology in the future given the high level of research and development in this field.