Three Major Advances In Artificial Limb Technology That Improve Quality Of Life

Not having the use of one or more limbs brings daily challenges that limit mobility, activity level and overall freedom. In previous years, amputees had to depend largely on wheelchairs for mobility, which impacted the daily tasks you could perform. Today, advances in prosthetics make it possible for you to lead a more active and more independent lifestyle than ever before. Here are three major advances in prosthesis you should know about.

Myoelectric Prosthesis

The term "myoelectric" refers to the electrical components of your muscles. Your muscles transmit electrical impulses that fire to signal muscle movement. Myoelectric prosthesis is a technological advancement that makes use of your existing muscles in the residual limb to control the functions of your prosthetic limb. This makes it possible to control your artificial limb with the electrical signals that your muscles generate. Currently, myoelectric technology is available for hand, wrist and elbow components. This cutting edge technology gives your artificial limb more functionality and makes life easier by allowing for the precise movements necessary to complete simple but important actions such as tying your shoelaces and holding utensils. A wide variety of grip patterns are available, designed to handle just about any day-to-day task. 

Carbon Fiber Feet

The materials used to produce prosthetic feet have made significant advances. In the past, wood served as the primary material used to make prosthetic foot devices, which is a less ideal material due to limited mobility, comfort and flexibility. A major advance is the use of carbon fiber as the composite material to make artificial feet. Carbon fiber is a strong, flexible, more life-like material that makes it possible for you to do things such as run at various speeds, walk more comfortably and even climb hills. Prosthetic feet made of carbon fiber provide a higher level of comfort and mobility than other materials and better mimics physiological movements.

Modular Prosthesis

Johns Hopkins University created a robotic upper-extremity technology called the modular prosthetic limb. This futuristic limb possesses a life-like appearance, dexterity and strength, along with tactile sensing. The technology allows you to control the limb with your thoughts by simply thinking about the movement you want to make. To do this, a surgical procedure is required that involves reassigning nerves that previously controlled the movement of the limb. This makes it possible to fit a custom socket to your torso that makes neurological connections with the reassigned nerves.