What are Prosthetic limbs? They're what will save peoples lives when it looks like its over.

Glossary

Body Paralysis - Loss of voluntary movement of a body part. This is caused by damage to the spine, nerves, brain diseases or shock.

Uniaxial - A singular axle in a machine or a completely separate part.

Phantom Limb - Sensation of a severed limb still feeling attached. One can also feel pain due to phantom limb.

Electrode -This is a point in which electricity enters or leaves. This entire system uses electrodes to send signals into you body and to the nervous system to make you feel things.

G-CRT - This is the name of the system that they are currently developing at the university.

Inaugura - The beginning of a business proposal.

How does it feel to not have a limb?

Not having a limb is a weird feeling people need to get used to, not having a limb at all is weird, you also start having pains in the area where your limb was detached from your body. You may also experience body paralysis. According to the article, “Healthcare Technology Today” says that researchers are trying to make limbs feel like a limb to try and reduce the effects and pain of Phantom limb (Tepper). Over all the limb still doesn't feel completely natural to the user but researchers are researching ways to make the limb feel more natural and eventually get rid of the Phantom limb effect.*5 What the Phantom limb effect is the brain not being used to having one of your limbs detached from the body, effects include feeling like you still have the limb and pains in the area the limb was detached from. Tepper also includes in his article on how patients report what phantom limbs feels like (Tepper). Several accounts report a slight pain in the area.*5 Overall it's a feeling a lot of disabled people have to get used to but if technology continues to get better then these disabled people will have a replacement that feels just like a lost limb and reduce the pain they feel. Though prosthetic limbs are cool and can help someone feel loss pain, they're very complex and hard to understand how they work.

How do prosthetic limbs work?

Prosthetic limbs have come a far away from what they once were, now we’re able to implement electrodes onto someone so that they're able to control them. We can implant these electrodes through surgery. In the article, “UAEU students developing gesture control technologies to help people with disabilities,” explains the system used to move the prosthetic limbs is called, “Smart Gesture Control and Recognition Technology – similar to technology used in gaming” (Swans). *1 This system is being developed at the UAE university and uses motion sensing for the prosthetic limb to move, predicting what the user is trying to do. An example is how a leg moves around on a uniaxle according to the electors information. There are separate technologies that other scientists are developing, such as Max Ortiz Catalan’s research at Chalmers university of technology. Here Caltan explains one of his methods of inducing movement into the limb, “The patient's prosthesis was controlled by electrodes placed over the skin, but it had certain limitations and was not always reliable” (Blaszczak-boxe). *6 these are called surface electrodes; they receive electrical signals from the brain and move the prosthetic limb accordingly. There’s a better technology called Integrated limbs that work much better than surface ones due to it having direct contact with the nervous system. With technology, such as these we would be able to rehabilitate people who have lost their limbs so that they can go back to living their normal lives happily and comfortably. It would be nice to live comfortably with the limb. Although they might not be affordable for most people.

Is it affordable for the general public?

Prosthetic limbs range from different prices depending on what the limb is made of and what functions it can perform. Ultimately as they are right now, prosthetic limbs are really expensive, according to the article “LIMBS International Helps Amputees Get Back on Their Feet With the World's First Low-Cost, Multi-Axis Prosthetic Knee Designed for Mass Production,” prosthetic limbs cost range from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on what you want the limb to do and what it's made of (Summers).*4 Because of the increasing complexity of how to make artificial limbs stronger, more effective, and ultimately operate like a real limb has caused the prices to increase drastically. Though the pieces might be high right now, companies and organizations are working to make the prices affordable for everyone. In Summers article she talks about an organization named LIMBS. LIMBS is a non profit organization that is trying to make prosthetic limbs more affordable for everyone. Currently they have been able to make a limb out of a cheap durable plastic, “to establish a product that costs less than $100 to produce” (Summers). *4 There are more organizations that are working towards trying to make affordable products like LIMBS around the world, if they are able to pull it off then 3rd world countries will be able to afford them and be able to use them as well. Over all prosthetic limbs aren't affordable as it is now but people are trying to make it more affordable. Though if you do decide to buy it, you'd want to know if its worth your money.

Is it a good idea to get a prosthetic limb?

Getting a prosthetic limb is worth it if one can afford it due to its usefulness in everyday tasks and lives. According to the article “Mind-controlled prosthetic limbs let patients ‘feel’ objects,” a Cleveland study conducted an experiment on two men, Igor Spetic and Keith Vonderhuevel where the two men were given a prosthetic limb to test. For a year the group studied them, “testing them in everyday activities, including strenuous ones such as chopping wood” (Blaszczak-Boxe). *6 The study found the prosthetic hand greatly increased their productivity and improved their everyday lives. Even across the world people are benefitting from having a prosthetic limb. Researcher Max Ortiz Catalan explains how he has a patient who lost his arm in a accident at his truck driving job. Once surgery was done to implement electrodes into the patient's arm and was given a prosthetic limb he was able to do his truck driving job again, even able to operate the heavy machinery again. Once getting a prosthetic limb it is beneficial for the user and some leave it on while they sleep. Clearly prosthetic limbs could greatly enhance someone's life if they are able to get ahold of one for their everyday use. There are also several improvements that can be made to prosthetic limbs, but they don't come cheap and itll take a while.

How much time and money will making and developing take?

The price and time it will take to develop a prosthetic limb ultimately depends on what the limb is made of and what its function will be. Several companies have different techniques and materials they use to make their limbs. Arno Schuetze, author of the article “Prosthetics maker Ottobock draws private equity interest,” talks about Ottobock, a company that produces high quality prosthetic limbs sells their limbs for about $5,000 (Reuters). *3 Ottobock uses high quality metals and materials which is why their product costs quite a bit of money. Though Ottobock isn't the only company that produces prosthetic limbs, there are companies that sell worse quality limbs, but at a cheaper price. Diana Summers, author of the article “LIMBS International Helps Amputees Get Back on Their Feet With the World's First Low-Cost, Multi-Axis Prosthetic Knee Designed for Mass Production,” mentions LIMBS, another prosthetic limb company that works towards making prosthetic limbs being affordable and cheap so that everyone can use them. Their products cost $100 to make using a durable cheap plastic that lasts around 8 years (Summers). *4 If companies end up mass producing these cheap prosthetic limbs we’d be able to distribute them into 3rd world countries and give them to people that normally wouldn't be able to afford it regularly.

Credits:

Created with images by MilitaryHealth - "052" • MilitaryHealth - "020"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.