Advancements announced today by engineers at Tonnew University Hospital allow for powered prosthetics to achieve much more natural-looking movements. Dr Massney Erreviggio, who was responsible for biointerface on the project, explains how they got such remarkable results. “The higher resolution of the sensors developed by our university’s Engineering Department two years ago has allowed us to get a much better idea of exactly what is trying to be done – not only the direction the limb should be moved, but also the speed and force that is intended.”
“The algorithms in this new computer analyse this input, compare it with gyroscopic, and other sensor data, then apply a predictive learning layer to anticipate and smooth out the instructions it sends to the actuators. Of course, all this (and the power source to run it) is housed within the limb itself. Huge pats on the back for the team that managed to pull off that trick.”
The benefits promised by this development are obvious to users of the previous generation of powered-joint prosthetics. Ballet dancer and above-elbow amputee, Sirella Utz, who was involved in tests for the latest prototype of this technology, says that it has rekindled her dreams.
“Everyone at The Savega Ballet Company have been really good since the accident, and I’ve been able to continue performing – at a certain level. But with the fluidity of motion this new arm offers, I’m able to hope for soloist roles again.” And it’s not just professional dancers who will benefit.
Carpenter Ruxta Pol has had to alter his work since losing his leg several years ago. “I could still do most things with the old prosthetic, but some things on site were too dangerous. The movement was just too jerky. I can’t wait to help the lads nail up my first roof in forever.”
Dr Erreviggio admits that the power usage could still use some refinement, with a single charge only lasting 4 hours of heavy use, but is hopeful that further improvements are just around the corner.
“The tech guys are working to streamline the algorithms, would just be a software upgrade. There are also some exciting new battery technologies that we’re keeping a close eye on. In the meantime, we we’ve been swamped by enquiries, so there’s obviously a need for it. We’re very proud of what we’ve done here.”