Prosthetic Hand Technologies

Topics: Prosthesis, Prosthetics, Artificial limb Pages: 11 (1426 words) Published: April 16, 2014


New Technologies in Prosthetic Hands
Word Count: 1,282
John Doe
3/20/13

Abstract
This paper presents a review of the most modern advancements in prosthetic hand technologies. The introduction will provide an explanation of the purpose behind the study, along with why this topic is important to research. The topics that are covered in this paper will be; the problems with current technologies of prosthetic hands, new technologies of prosthetic hands, new prosthetic technologies that function with the human body, and affordable prosthetic hands. Results of the research show that there are significant improvements that have been made in the past few years. The research also shows that the problems that have plagued prosthetics before are no longer an issue. Each of the sections in the paper will refer back to original research done by one or more of the cited authors. The research presented here has profound implications for the future of amputee rehabilitation and may some day help amputee’s lives easier.

Key Words: Prosthetic, Hands, Myoelectric, Technology, Advancement, Rehabilitation

Introduction
Most of the advances in prosthetic limb technology occur directly after times of war. This is unfortunately due to the amount of amputees coming home from fighting in a war. With the recent influx of soldiers coming home from the Middle East, the need for prosthetic limbs has reached a high once again. The high need for advanced prosthetics has driven both doctors and engineers to create more sophisticated devices. Doctors and patients alike should become aware of the recent advances made in prosthetic limb technology. This review will focus on the advancements made in prosthetic hand technology. The purpose of this review is to summarize the research made by scientists and to present it to doctors and patients so that both can be familiarized with the most current advancements.

I: Problems with current technologies of prosthetic hands
Although some may argue that current prosthetic hand technologies are suitable to the average user, there are some glaring flaws in the designs of most of them. The major issue with current technologies is the fact that they are heavy, slow, and run on a very limited supply of energy. (White, 2010) These obvious flaws are unfavorable for the user. If the prosthetic hand does not allow the user to carry out his or her daily activities, then what is the benefit of paying a large amount of money for it?

Another major issue with current prosthetic hand technologies is that over time, the prosthetic hand starts to break down and need to be replaced. This process is inevitable and there is no sure way to avoid it. (Moffat, 2007) However, it would be a great benefit to the user if the prosthetic hands were made more durable and reliable so that people wouldn’t have to replace their prosthetic hands as often as they do. Simply put, future prosthetic hands need to be lighter, more efficient, reliable, and more durable.

II: New technologies of prosthetic hands
Current technologies rely on muscle sensors and myoelectric signals to detect voluntary muscle movement in the arm and hand. (Moffat, 2007) Currently in development are brand new technologies that improve the overall performance of prosthetic hands. In Hein’s article (2011) he talks about a new material sensing technology that allows sensors, when brought close to an object, to detect the material and set a maximum pressure depending on the object. This means the user will be able to exert enough force to grab something heavy, but won’t crush a fragile object, like an egg.

A different technology that is discussed in White’s article (2010) is a new fingertip technology that allows for a lighter and more flexible design. This new technology is able to mimic the human movement and grip force of the human hand. The new fingertip sensors will process information locally,...


References: 1. Aronson, R. B. Medical manufacturing frontiers: Part II. Manufacturing Engineering. 2007;139(4):147-150,152.
2. Doshi, R. The design and development of a gloveless endoskeletal prosthetic hand. Journal of rehabilitation research & development. 2008;35(4):388-95.
3. Graham L, Datta D, Heller B, Howitt J. A comparative study of conventional and energy-storing prosthetic feet in high-functioning transfemoral amputees. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2007;88(6):801-806
3. Hein, T. We have the technology... Design Engineering. 2011;57(3):30.
4. Moffat, M. Braving new worlds: To conquer, to endure. Physical Therapy. 2007;84(11): 1056-86.
5. Stuart, N. Interview: Upper hand. The Engineer. 2009:30-31.
6. Visser, H. D. Force-directed design of a voluntary closing hand prosthesis. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 2009:37(3);261-71.
7. White, N. Getting a firmer grip. The Engineer. 2010;9.
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