Prosthetic limbs have come a long way since the days of Captain Hood. Many people throughout the world have either lost a limb due to injury or trauma or are born without a limb and require prosthetics from an early age. They rely on prosthetics to help them gain balance, mobility, confidence and function.
Over the past several years, there have been significant advancements in prosthetics. There are now prosthetics being developed that allow the user to operate it much like an actual limb. A research team in Sweden, at Chalmers University of Technology, is heading this advanced technology. The titanium limb that they are developing will actually be surgically attached to the body, and electrodes that are attached to the nervous system will allow the recipient to control the limb naturally.
The process of operating a prosthetic via electrical impulse, known as osseointegration, was developed in the 1960’s. Researchers say that this process is essential to the success of the titanium limb implant. Researchers have been honing and improving the osseointegration technology over the past several decades. The forefront of prosthetic technology will allow surgeons to attach the prosthetic directly to the skeleton, remaining bone, and remaining nerves. This process will allow the recipient to have fine motor control of the prosthetic limb. The system will transfer electrical impulses through a series of algorithms, which will transfer to specific movement of the prosthetic. The new generation of prosthetics is designed with many motors and joints that will allow single movements, as well as many simultaneous movements. This will allow prosthetic recipients movement much like that of our natural muscle, joint, and connective tissue movement, which are controlled by our brain and nervous system.
This type of technology has been around for decades, but has never been this advanced. Previously it has meant that electrodes were placed on the skin to control the prosthetic. Although this has had some positive outcome, this type of electrode placement can be subject to interference and interruption. The goal of the new technology is to allow natural movement of the prosthetic.
This new technology could truly revolutionize prosthetics for amputees. It is likely that the first human recipients of this technology will be able to undergo surgery in the later months of 2013. This new generation of prosthetics is likely to bring control, comfort, and reliability back to the amputee.
You can learn about the advancements in prosthetics when you visit us at our Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Cadillac, Petoskey or one of our other 18 Michigan locations.