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New developments in prosthetic arm systems

Authors Vujaklija I, Farina D, Aszmann OC

Received 7 March 2016

Accepted for publication 12 May 2016

Published 7 July 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 31—39

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/ORR.S71468

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Clark Hung

Ivan Vujaklija,1 Dario Farina,1 Oskar C Aszmann2

1Institute of Neurorehabilitation Systems, Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology Göttingen, University Medical Center Göttingen, Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany; 2Christian Doppler Laboratory for Restoration of Extremity Function, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Abstract: Absence of an upper limb leads to severe impairments in everyday life, which can further influence the social and mental state. For these reasons, early developments in cosmetic and body-driven prostheses date some centuries ago, and they have been evolving ever since. Following the end of the Second World War, rapid developments in technology resulted in powered myoelectric hand prosthetics. In the years to come, these devices were common on the market, though they still suffered high user abandonment rates. The reasons for rejection were trifold – insufficient functionality of the hardware, fragile design, and cumbersome control. In the last decade, both academia and industry have reached major improvements concerning technical features of upper limb prosthetics and methods for their interfacing and control. Advanced robotic hands are offered by several vendors and research groups, with a variety of active and passive wrist options that can be articulated across several degrees of freedom. Nowadays, elbow joint designs include active solutions with different weight and power options. Control features are getting progressively more sophisticated, offering options for multiple sensor integration and multi-joint articulation. Latest developments in socket designs are capable of facilitating implantable and multiple surface electromyography sensors in both traditional and osseointegration-based systems. Novel surgical techniques in combination with modern, sophisticated hardware are enabling restoration of dexterous upper limb functionality. This article is aimed at reviewing the latest state of the upper limb prosthetic market, offering insights on the accompanying technologies and techniques. We also examine the capabilities and features of some of academia’s flagship solutions and methods.

Keywords: prosthetic, amputations, rehabilitation, hand, arm

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