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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Two most crippling aspects of bionics: a solution

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The first mentioned prosthesis was made in the middle ages. A talented blacksmith from Nuremberg used to design these first-ever prostheses for the noble, wealthy, and privileged. Due to the necessary craftsmanship and materials, prostheses always remained available for the rich and vital of society. Only recently, the scenario is changing. In this era of globalization, humans are connected in more than one possible way, and the collective load of amputations worldwide can slow down our species’ progress. Hence, to the demand of our time, prostheses are becoming more and more accessible with time. From bionics inception, prosthetics received multiple benefits from advancements in allied disciplines. And in this era of neurosciences, the most promising enhancement came as bionics. After the emergence of bionics, prostheses became more usable and could listen to the user’s will.

A bionic prosthesis is controlled by a powerful microcomputer located onboard the device. This computer translates EMG signals into gestures and movements by hardware support. The electromyogram signal in discussion is generated by residual muscles present post-amputation. These muscles generate EMG signals during training, which are picked up by non-invasive EMG sensors and fed to the computer.

But despite this technological achievement and prowess, bionic prostheses are not for every amputee. This article will discuss the reason and suggest a few probable solutions.

No muscle, no function

As the working mechanism of a bionic prosthesis suggests, the source of input for the device is the residual muscles. Hence, without the forces, a bionic prosthetic arm can not perform. Amputations are extreme measures taken to save a life from deadly scenarios. And due to their candid nature, they always fail to retain the relevant muscles. Hence the amputees who have all the powers in the process can not wield a bionic prosthetic arm.

This absence of musculature can be bypassed with a slightly invasive sensor placement paradigm. The emergence of the neuromusculoskeletal sensor placing paradigm is instilling hope in those people who fail to retain the residual muscles. These sensors are invasive and able to reach the sensory nerves. Hence they can transmit sensory information to the brain.

Better welding experience

The wielder of a bionic prosthesis receives an empowering experience. And with the progress in material and physical sciences, the materials used to build prostheses have become more robust and lighter. The materials used are of high strength-to-weight ratio and the quality increases with time. Alloys and carbon fibers are getting more preference due to their versatile nature.

The inner linings of bionic prostheses are also made of superhydrophobic materials for better hygiene and low water retention. Silicone elastomers are being used to provide the expected degree of hygiene. These elastomers are superhydrophobic, soft, and known for reduced friction. Hence the material is optimum for hygiene and comfort.

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