Are non-mechanical prosthetic hands actually practical for the user and can myoelectric controlled prosthetic hands be used as a superior alternative?
Prosthetic limbs are synthetic devices that offer a replacement for people who have had a loss of a limb due to birth defects or accidents; statistically, 20,000 new amputations occur in the United Kingdom per annum. These prosthesis’ then, to some extent, provide a part of the function normally done by the arm; and therefore gives the individual the chance to ’enjoy more mobility’. However, the main problem with non-electrical limbs is that it is a simple device (lacks both capability and efficiency of mimicking a normal hand) and offers quite limited movement (hardly providing the ability to grasp items). As it stands, the issues surrounding these passive non mechanical prosthesis’ is that they are a very simple affair (it cannot mimic hand movements or grips similar to that of a normal hand) and lets the user operate items in quite a primitive manner (not allowing the user full flexibility of the artificial fingers) (1). Amputation is an increasing problem which means that demand for enhanced quality prosthetic limbs is quite high; different reasons contribute to amputation, some medical and others non-medical. Medical factors that would contribute would be dysvascular related disease; as 46.19% per 100,000 of amputations were carried out in US during 1996, cancer related and congential amputations where upper limb amputations were recorded at 58.6%. Non medical factors would include trauma related incidents such as accidents which accounted for 68.6% of amputations (Figure 1).
The most appropriate solution for these inadequate non-electrical limbs would be to use myoelectric prosthetic limbs such as the i-LIMB. The i-LIMB is a bionic hand with exceptionally life-like movements that is coordinated via myoelectric control; which works through a sensor on the muscle of the remainder of the...