technology in prosthetics

 

In the current day and age, technology is advancing daily; new smart phones, watches that are able to track your daily activities, smart TVs, and so much more. Those are great advancements for making our lives easier but what about technology that changes every step for someone!

 

We are at an amazing time in technology for prosthetics and orthotics. We have ankles that adjust for hills and stairs, we have knees that can actually propel you up the stairs, we have hands that have grips for a computer mouse and a pencil and to hold a key.

 

These are the things we all dreamed of 5-10 years ago and thought we would be lucky to see this happen in our lifetime and it’s now happening! What an incredible time for those needing these technologies.  

Walk More Naturally: The Prosthetic Knee

Microprocessor knees (prosthetic knees controlled by small computers inside the knee) are becoming more common because of their great ability to help people.

 

These knees are known to reduce the risk of falling, help with more equal step lengths, more natural walk, and reduced fatigue. These knees have sensors to read how fast you are walking, what slopes, if you stumble or trip and much more.

 

Knees are not the only thing controlled by microprocessors (small computers). Ankles are now able to be controlled by these small computers. There are ankles that now lift the toes when you go to take a step which reduces the chances of tripping on your own toes and makes the work done by your leg muscles easier.

 

This ability to lift the toes also helps when you want to get out of your chair since the feet can come under your chair more to make it easier. The other thing these computerized microprocessor ankles do is also point the toes when needed.

This doesn’t seem very important but as an amputee walking down a hill is a scary time and they typically feel as if they will tilt forward or they walk down slightly sideways. Not with a microprocessor ankle! By the computer sensing when to point the toes, it provides stability like our natural ankle does on downward slopes and ramps.

Holding a Pencil Again: The Prosthetic Hand

So legs are cool, but now let’s think about hands and arms for a second. We can use sensors now to find muscles that are firing and use that electrical input to grip things with a prosthetic hand.

What kinds of things can we grip now, you may ask?  A ball? Yes! A key to unlock your front door? Yes! A computer mouse? Yes! Holding a pencil, a wine glass, an egg… yes, yes, yes!  We can now control types of grips for prosthetic hands.

We can also control elbow joints as well as hands.  What could be next after these amazing advancements? The upcoming technology to prepare for are sensors to allow an amputee to actually sense hot and cold through the prosthetic hands.

 

All of these technologies would make someone “Bionic” or close to it. That sounds so futuristic! Well, bionic means having normal biological capability enhanced by electronic devices. These new advanced technologies give that to amputees and those needing it so the Bionic man/ woman is finally here!

If you want to be part of the future of bionics contact us today!