The Benefits of Prosthetic Technology Advancements
Innovation does not always equal improvement, but in the case of prosthetics, it certainly does. When it comes to prosthetics, recent advancements offer benefits in three primary areas: accessibility, functionality, and safety.
As discussed above, one of the recent advancements in prosthetic technology is the use of 3D printing to quickly and cost-effectively create prosthetics. This allows for more people to have a prosthetic when before they had to go without. The more accessible prosthetics are, the more people can benefit from them, and the fewer medical cases involving residual complications.
Regarding prosthetics, technology integration has led to increased functionality, and researchers are close to creating prosthetics that function entirely like a natural limb. Microprocessors have been combined with prosthetics, allowing the ingrained computer to measure multiple variables and adjust the prosthetic’s settings accordingly, letting the prosthetic adjust based on terrain, speed, activity, or slope. The result is a prosthetic that adapts similarly to our natural limbs.
Innovation within the realm of prosthetics is also looking into connecting neurological function and prosthetics, such as using electrodes and sensors to adjust prosthetic settings based on the information gathered from muscles. The electrodes and sensors create a feedback loop similar to what the brain naturally completes to process and react to stimuli, moving the prosthetic as needed.
As expected, the greater functionality a prosthetic has, the safer it is for the user. Microprocessor prosthetics offer real-time adjustments that increase stability in the user and adjust the prosthetic as needed based on the environment. This lessens the number of falls and stumbles experienced by those with a prosthetic.
Furthermore, many microprocessor prosthetics can also detect a fall or stumble and, should one occur, implement a specific setting to help stop the stumble from progressing or to limit the damage sustained by the user.