The possibilities held by the future of prosthetic arms

The absence of voluntary control and a feeling of incompleteness has always fueled the development of bionic prosthetic arms. The primitive nature of earlier prosthetics was cumbersome to hold and use. The earlier tech was painful to wield and had significant drawbacks which were gradually addressed by the emergence of bionics. The first generation of prosthetic arms was more of a useless cosmetic enhancement and lacked utility.

After the emergence of bionics, bionic prosthetic arms were introduced. Which added to the functionality and utility of a prosthesis. A bionic prosthetic arm wielder can grip and perform gestures useful for day to day life. Unlike the conventional prosthetic arms, bionics gives back more in terms of the ability to be more efficient in the struggle of life.

How modern-day bionics work

An advanced prosthetic arm in our times uses bionic technology. These arms are controlled by an onboard microprocessor. These microcomputers pack a lot of power and potential to transcribe commands into gestures and grips. The source of command for the computer is the residual muscles. Integrated intramuscular sensors or sensors on the skin of an amputee records electromyographic information and feeds the computer for transcription. The computer transcribes it into actions according to its capability and programming.

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The missing sensations

The will of the brain is manifested as a motor activity. And bionics are more than adequate to serve the will given the resources at hand. Due to the muscle dependent mode of action, modern-day bionics lack the capability of receiving sensory information. Though adequate to grip, lift and hold day to day objects it can not sense what it is holding. And the user is deprived of the same as well. It is not only frustrating but sometimes potentially dangerous as well.

No muscles no function

A bionic prosthetic arm serves the commands received from the muscles. The electromyographic inputs are the main and only source of information for its onboard computer. Due to the candid nature of amputations, all these relevant and necessary muscles are not always present.

For this sole inconvenience, all who have lost a  limb can not avail to an advanced prosthetic arm for easing up their livelihood. Amputations are extreme measures mostly a last resort for saving a life. It can result from cancer, infections, and even nasty injuries. And the loss of all the important muscles is commonplace. Whatever technological prowess we command today can not provide a solution to this residual muscle problem.

The future

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Research has demonstrated neuromusculoskeletal prosthetics are able to receive sensations and are more comfortable to wield. Due to its invasive nature of the installation, these prostheses are able to connect to sensory nerves as well. It can receive commands directly from the peripheral nervous system and the increased numbers of heat, pressure, and touch sensors can feed sensory information to the brain. Wielders of these kinds of prostheses can sense what they are holding, how hot or cold it is, and what is the nature of the object’s surface.

The ultimate goal of a prosthesis is the rehabilitation of the wielder and giving back some of the lost abilities. And the future of prosthetics seems bright in terms of serving the goals.

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