Prosthetics started its journey in the medieval era. And since then it has only witnessed growth as an emerging discipline. During this long trip through time Prosthetics made their presence known. And due to the interconnected and allied nature of the discipline, harboured great minds.
Back in medieval Europe, only a few craftsmen could actually produce a prosthesis. And the material used for creating a functional prosthesis was extremely hard to obtain. Even if access is gained to the materials, the weight stood in the way of functionality. As a result, medieval prostheses were restricted to the upper class. Only the important and privileged could use a prosthesis. The heavy, clumsy and clunky medieval prosthesis was difficult to wield and extravagantly expensive. But with time, prosthetics and allied disciplines thrived and flourished. The materials and components became lighter and stronger. And after the emergence of bionics prosthetics changed for the better and the world witnessed a revolution in the field. Before bionics prostheses were more of a cosmetic phenomenon. With very little functional aspect to it, more of a burden for the wielder. Bionics transformed these clunky mechanical toys into instruments of post-amputation rehabilitation.
How it works
A bionic prosthesis is controlled by an onboard microcomputer. This computer is able to translate electromyographic data into gestures and actions. Non-invasive electromyographic sensors are placed on the skin for receiving the motor information and the signal is fed to the computer. Based on the hardware, the computer then can produce desired gestures and actions. Though the actions a bionic prosthesis can perform are limited and basic in nature.
Materials in use
In a country like ours, it is still an expensive proposition to wield a prosthesis. Hence, amputees availing a bionic prosthesis will try to use the instrument for a relatively long duration. Unlike the medieval prostheses, today’s instruments are lighter and stronger, built with high materials, featuring high strength to weight ratio. Modern-day prostheses are easier to wield, stronger and very ergonomic due to mechanical features.
The materials in use are chosen based on not just weight but also hygiene. Alongside materials of high strength to weight ratio, superhydrophobic materials with low friction are also used. These materials are soft and have low friction, utilized in making the inner lining of the prosthesis. Silicone elastomers are the most popular among these materials. These materials are used for encouraging low water retention and hygiene. Before committing to a prosthesis, one must understand the aspect of required comfort and choose a bionic prosthesis accordingly.
Life on planet earth involves exposure to air, humidity, water, dust and a lot of pollutants. Some of these exposures can be detrimental for the delicate equipment packed in a bionic prosthesis. A good prosthesis must have these protective aspects covered. The purpose of a bionic prosthesis is to give back some important aspects of life and make things easier for the wielder.
From the user’s end, it is important to know about the maintenance and limitations of the prosthesis. So that unwanted accidents can be avoided.
The electronics of a bionic prosthesis is the determining factor when it comes to performance. The sensitivity of the sensors determines the character and quality of information being recorded by them. And the computer determines the response time and interpretation of the EMG data. Hence, a good bionic prosthesis must display a good balance between different components of the electronics. So that a smooth and empowering experience can be delivered. Weak electronics will result in slow and weak responses, inevitably reducing the confidence of a wielder.
A good prosthetic arm company will eagerly support an amputee for a long duration from the date of wielding. After the initial calibration is done there is a probability of gradual de-calibration. Additionally, accidents and malfunctions can happen as well. In addition to the after-sale support, A good company will take good care of the client during the conditioning and incubation period. Willingly shedding light upon the strengths and weaknesses of the product. Only by this awareness, an accident can be avoided. It is always wise to connect with such companies for a good and long wielding experience.