How to assess the quality of a bionic prosthesis?

Amputations are desperate measures, performed in order to stop an unstoppable infection or maybe cancer. However, this loss of a limb might save a life but makes living a more difficult business to handle. In many cases, amputees lose the willpower to go on and continue the struggle for a living. The curse of an amputation can render an amputee significantly paralyzed so that the usual way of life is hampered.

The progress in the field of prosthetics is fueled by the sheer motivation of coming back to life and contributing to society. Prosthetics started in medieval times, first documented to exist in medieval Europe. Back then it was restricted to only the elite and rich, as the availability of prostheses were extremely limited. The limitation of implementation was not only because of the scarcity of makers or materials, but the prostheses were also extremely heavy and more of a clumsy and cosmetic prosthetic arm made out of metal and wood. With time prostheses became more agile, light and easier to wield. And after the emergence of bionics, the field was revolutionized. The most awaited functional and practical abilities were added by the implementation of bionics. And a modern bionic prosthesis can perform in accordance with the wielder’s will while lacking the abilities of sensory reception.

How does bionics work?

A bionic prosthesis is controlled by an onboard microcomputer. This computer is adequately powerful and able to translate electromyographic data into gestures and actions in accordance with the hardware. The electromyographic signals originate from the residual muscles and are picked up by electromyographic sensors. The sensors are non-invasive in nature and are placed strategically on the skin. Hence, an amputee not retaining the relevant muscles can safely be considered as ineligible for wielding a bionic prosthesis.

It is not for everyone

The human limbs are controlled by peripheral nerves originating from the spinal cord. And the entire bundles of nerves along with all the other relevant issues are collectively called dermatomes and one or a few dermatomes are responsible for controlling the limbs. Any injury involving the dermatomes can also render an amputee ineligible. In addition to that, the presence of progressive neuropathology also hampers the calibration.

There’s a lot of options present on the market and not all of them are suitable for everyone. This article will try to enlighten the reader regarding the essentials of prostheses and act as a guide for choosing the right prostheses.

Environmental resistance

An amputee willing to come back to life will definitely come in contact with various environmental factors potentially harmful for the technologies packed with a bionic prosthesis. A bionic prosthesis packs a lot of electronics and hardware made out of materials prone to erosion. Hence environmental resistance is essential for effective rehabilitation. Before committing to a prosthesis or a manufacturer, it is recommended to thoroughly check the environmental resistance of a prosthesis.

Welding experience

The prosthesis of our time is definitely not made up of wood or metal exclusively. Today prostheses are made up of materials known for having a high strength to weight ratio. It is important to assess the wielding experience of a prosthesis before committing as long-term experience from a prosthesis must be effortless for effective implementation of the prosthesis in daily life. Today’s prosthesis is faster and lighter with an extended list of functions.

Manufacturers tend to use superhydrophobic materials for ensuring hygiene and a dry frictionless experience. Silicone elastomers are in high use for their soft physical nature and hydrophobia

Sensitivity and number of actions

The computer and sensors deployed with a prosthesis determine the effectiveness of the prosthesis in the rehabilitation of an amputee. The sensitivity of sensors, overall computation ability and hardware of a prosthesis determines the number of actions a prosthesis can perform.

The requirement of actions might vary from person to person and it should be subjected to a study before commitment.

Support and maintenance

In order to achieve effective rehabilitation, the actions and capabilities of a prosthesis are equally important alongside the support and Maintenance aspects of a prosthesis. A piece of complex tech like a bionic prosthesis can be maintained for a long duration just with care from the wielder’s side. For providing that care, a wielder must receive the necessary training from the manufacturers. And even if a situation arises where help from the manufacturer is essential it is important to have a good service network. A delicate piece of tech without maintenance and support is practically useless.

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