The people who are living with limb loss suffer from various physical, mental, and social challenges. There have been a lot of artificial limbs to help persons with disabilities. However, these artificial limbs have been riddled with various difficulties and have not been successful to a major extent. In addition to this, the prosthetic arm cost is relatively on the higher side which also acts as a limiting factor for their adoption.
Over the last five years, a lot of advances have been made to take the science of prosthetics to an all-new level. The research and development related to integrated neuromusculoskeletal prostheses have been particularly successful in making a breakthrough in the life of people with disabilities. With the help of artificial intelligence, prosthetic limbs are surgically attached to enable the bi-directional flow of neural impulses. It is important to understand this process and the latest breakthroughs in this technology in deeper detail.
It has been challenging for the scientist to develop prosthetic limbs that can replicate the functioning of the biological limb. It needs to be noted at this point in time that scientists have been fully successful in designing prosthetic limbs that are the exact replica of the biological limb but slightly differ in functioning. This is mainly due to latency that is encountered during the transmission of neural impulses.
This is what has prompted scientists to come up with neuromusculoskeletal prostheses. As the name suggests, the above-mentioned technology ensures full-fledged coordination between the neural parts, the muscle components as well as the skeletal system. With the help of neuromusculoskeletal technology, we have been able to create prosthetic limbs that are parallel in structure and functioning to the biological limbs. It needs to be noted that the above procedure requires surgical installations and is permanent in nature. A large number of electrodes are implanted to ensure the bidirectional flow of information between the various components of the limb.
Design and development
It is important to understand the technology behind conceiving neuro musculoskeletal prostheses. The first important stage is the understanding of the functioning of a particular limit that needs to be fabricated. With the help of sensors, data is collected over a period of time and deep neural networks are employed to understand the functioning of the limb in detail. The next stage is the design of the prosthetic limb. Before the actual structuring takes place, a virtual model is fabricated to ensure that any type of defect is resolved at an earlier stage. This is when we get ready for the development stage that is divided into two substages. The first substage is the fabrication of the outer cosmetic model of the prosthetic limb with the help of polymer technology. The second substage is the assembly of electronic components and their installation inside the artificial limb. Finally, the compatibility of the artificial limb is studied in accordance with the medical history of the patient.
No matter how much study is carried out related to neuromusculoskeletal prosthesis, it is eventually the user that determines the success of the extensive research and development that has been carried out. It has been observed that more than 80% of the participants that have undergone neuromuscular prosthesis have been fully satisfied with the results. The 20% of the participants have also been satisfied after some modifications were carried out for neuromuscular prosthetic components. The overall results were positive because even after the surgical installations were completed, some modifications could still be carried out.
The way ahead
The neuromusculoskeletal prosthesis has yielded positive results in the recent past and all the participants have been satisfied with the surgical installation of artificial limbs. The new technology not only improves upon the previous prosthetic procedures but also makes the mechanical part to integrate with the biological part in a very intimate manner. The social, personal, physical, and mental challenges that persisted in the traditional technologies have been overcome with the help of neuromusculoskeletal prostheses. The need of the hour is to set this technology into the commercial phase so that it becomes available to amputees at a very low cost.