Approximately 1 million Americans wear some sort of prosthetic device, and that number is expected to grow due to the prevalence of diabetes in modern society. In addition to diabetes, other common causes of limb amputation include trauma and injury. While most prosthetic limbs are pretty basic, advances in technology are making it increasingly possible for everyone, regardless of their economic situation, to have access to state-of-the-art limbs that look and act like a natural extension of the human body. Following are just some of the exciting advances being made in the world of prosthetics.
Lighter, More Comfortable Materials
Modern prosthetics are much lighter than those used in the past. In fact, a new arm made of silicone weighs only a couple of pounds. Some manufactures are also using carbon fiber in order to make their products lighter and more durable. These lighter limbs are not only more comfortable, they allow the wearer to be more active and participate in activities that they might not have been able to before, such as sports. Additionally, suction cups and silicone sheaths are allowing for a more stable and stronger seal between the prosthetic and stump, which makes artificial limbs operate more like the real thing.
Computerized and Robotic Limbs
Robotic hands, arms and legs are becoming more and more available to the average Joe. These devices are connected to select muscles found in the stump by sophisticated electrodes. When the wearer flexes muscles within the residual limb, the robotic prosthesis responds immediately by rotating, bending or extending. Some bionic hands even allow the wearer to perform delicate tasks, such as grasping objects.
The Future - Bionic Technology
Although they haven't perfected it yet, researchers and scientists are working on bionic technology that is wired directly into the brain. The technology will work much like natural limbs and will respond to signals sent from the brain. This is exciting news, especially for quadriplegics who have not been able to take advantage of prosthetics up to this point. There is even a proposed bionic suit that will help people who are wheelchair bound stand and walk again.
As you can see, there are many breakthroughs on the horizon for prosthetics, and the technology pertaining to artificial limbs is improving all the time. If you haven't looked into new products recently, you might be surprised by how far along the world of artificial limbs has come. Talk to your local prosthetics company, such as Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic, for more information.Share
20 January 2015
When my mother fell at home and broke her hip, we all thought that we were going to have no choice to put her in a nursing home when she got out of the hospital. My mother had always asked us kids to avoid putting her in any kind of home, but we didn’t know what else we could do. None of us were capable of giving her the kind of rehabilitation and care that she needed. Then her doctor suggested that we find out if her insurance covered in-home care. I didn’t even know that that was an option. I was pleased to discover that in-home care was covered by her plan. Now she gets great care from nurses and nurse assistants that come right to her in her home, where she wants to be. It’s a great option, and I’m so glad we have it.