Free Essay

Prosthetics Future

In: Science

Submitted By Ashleyjschick
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First off, I’d like to define prosthetics; some individuals may see prosthetics as simply a replacement for a limb, but the definition is slightly more complicated than that. “A Prosthesis can be any device designed to replace part of the body or improve the functionality of a body part; not just limbs, prosthetics include, but are not limited to; eyes, arms, legs, hands, joints, toes, and facial prosthetics.” (Disabled world) I personally have a fascination with prosthetics for a few reasons, first of all; when I was a little kid I grew in spurts; my legs, neck, back, and arms were in incredible pain. I would grow six to eight inches about every three years. That might seem normal, but when I grew I would only grow two or three months out of those three years. I would have given anything to stop the pain and trade for prosthetics. Some days I wouldn’t even want to get out of bed. I hurt all over. Another reason is that my family has a military background and I feel a calling for military service, but I am unsure of joining the service, this is an indirect way to be involved with military service people in need of services. The last major reason is that prosthetics are super cool, but I know I can do something more. I was meant to enable people to reach their fullest potential; I feel it’s my destiny. Within this paper I am going to discuss the beginning stages of prosthetics to current prosthetic innovations. I have an affinity for two prosthetics organizations; two of the oldest and in my opinion the most innovative companies.
The first is Hanger Clinic; this is where I was lucky enough to do my final internship and the other is Ottobock, they are amazing, and Hanger Clinic uses a lot of their products. I am very impressed with both companies and I am most familiar with them as well.
The oldest known prosthetic is from Egyptian Era. Mummies have been found preserved with their prosthetic toes attached, all of the signs of wear on these prosthetics means that they were highly used and functional. Evidence shows that this prosthetic is over 2,600 years old. This means it was created between 950 and 710 BC. There was stabilizing screws into the ankle; some of the things seen on this ancient prosthetic are still used today! (messagetoeagle)
Even though the Egyptians seem to have had a grasp on the basic construction of a wearable functional prosthetic; many trials and tribulations came after that the leather false toes that the Egyptians created. It seemed that numerous amounts of prosthesis were large, bulky, and clumsily made. Some were impractical, even harmful to amputees. It wasn’t until the 1500’s that more modern prosthetics came about. These prosthetics did more than just “appear” to be a limb, they had a degree of functionality unlike earlier millennial attempts at prosthesis. This was all due to a gentle man named Ambrose Pare. He was a bit of a chop­job “surgeon”, but he did develop natural hinging hands, locking capabilities, and harnesses. As reluctant as I am to admit it, his innovations are similar in practicality and aesthetics to many used today.
(motherboard)
Another honorable mention in the history of more modernized prosthetics is; Peter Verduyn.
Verduyn produced the first non­locking below the knee prosthetic; that was in
1696.(motherboard) His creation is still widely used today; just slightly doctored up to be more comfortable. PAGE 1

War times in the united states has, unfortunately always lead to innovation. During the civil war the United States government felt the need to offer financial support to develop prosthetics. This funding lead to the development of The Great Civil War Benefaction. The leader and the founder of Hanger Clinic, the first man to become an amputee and to receive a prosthetic limb in the Civil war was James Edward Hanger. (Motherboard) Hanger was the leader in prosthetic innovation and he provided many with his services in this time of need.
During the first World War Otto bock made its first prosthetic limb. It was a rough attempt at something practical. Looking back at this rough design makes me cringe, because of the high quality prosthetics that Otto bock has since developed. This prosthetic used a belt around the waist and a strap over the neck to stabilize.
The trend in innovation after war continued after this. “The National Academy of Sciences established the Artificial Limb Program” during World War II. The National Academy of
Sciences aim was to make prosthetics a multidisciplinary field. This is when prosthetics really took off. “Since then experts from various fields including; engineering, robotics, design, and physiology have collaborated to make prosthetics.” (motherboard)
Both Otto bock and James Edward Hanger Believed in empowering human potential
.
To the right is Hanger’s actual prosthetic that he himself used after the Civil war. If there was one person I could meet from history; that would be who I would choose. I am inspired by his story of perseverance and drive, from being a victim of war to overcoming his disability to rise and become a hero.
Many prosthetics have a very similar design today, the same basic rules to stabilize the limb, create a natural gait and comfortable support for the limb to rest. Those are the basics of prosthetics and a large part of clients that Prosthetist serve today. The outlier of people do have the more expensive, more advanced innovations of prosthetics. These are the innovations that people are seeing on the news today; this is not the norm for more prosthesis users even though I would like to make innovations affordable to all people to excel all people to their greatest potential to really carry on the mission of Otto Bock and James Hanger.
Some of these innovations that are being tested and used in some cases are;
Bluetooth enabled; these prosthetics allow users to choose different modes of use for walking, running and other activities. They learn from the user’s gait and how they naturally walk creating a feeling of the limb being an extension of the body.
Ottobock is a company now; they are a “world leading developer of high quality, innovative and practical solutions to restore mobility and help people rediscover independence.” (Disabled World) One of the most impressive innovations from
Ottobock is the C­Leg. The C­Leg was developed in 1997 and has since been one of the most incredible prosthetic limbs in the world. I have had the opportunity to see a few of these in action when I worked with Hanger Clinic. They work with the body to create a stable gait and learn from the user’s natural habits of movement. In the photo to the right that is the photo of a very early model of a wooden prosthetic, the middle model is an example of a modular leg that uses a hydraulic knee, and the last is a
PAGE 2

C­Leg, which uses microprocessors; it was the first leg in the world to use this technology.
Approximately 60,000 people have been fitted with a C­Leg. They are stable and reliable.
(Ottobock)
The C­Leg is not the most advanced prosthetic out there but it is FDA approved. Many
Neuro­prosthetics are being tested and patented, but are not out on the market nor are they affordable for most people. They are in the process of getting approval from the FDA. Another advancement in prosthetics is the ability to 3D print prosthetics. Both Neuro­prosthetics and 3D printed products are not the end of the innovations that I would like to pursue. I have to be careful about sharing my ideas due to the fact that they are huge ideas and I would be giving away the most profitable, yet affordable and functional “neuro­prosthetic’ capable of functioning exactly like a human limb. I am extremely excited about what the future holds for these prosthetics. A few of the neuro­prosthetics; also known as Brain Computer Interface, are supposed to be on the market in about the next five years. (Gannet) these devices are the (near) future of prosthetics and the start of what I would like to do, they respond to the brain and firing neurons they tend to work best when a person is a newly amputated individual and they have less atrophy so the user still has the most functionality of the limb. An example of this is simply termed as a Bionic Leg. A gentleman named Zac
Vawter was fitted for one of these Bionic legs, but is not authorized to take his leg home as it is still being tested and perfected. To the right is an example of Vawters
Leg.
Throughout time prosthetics have come a long way, I am determined to keep this progress going as I advance in my field. I believe that where other people have left off; is only my starting point, it is where I will jump to my future as I learn to create more advanced, more affordable prosthetics. I won’t forget the past and the innovators that have paved the path that I am on. The future is where I am headed. I hope that it is as ready for me as I am for it.

Very Interesting Resources:

PAGE 3

Prehistoric Evidence Of Sophisticated Prosthetics In Ancient Egypt - Artificial Toes
Helped Egyptians Walk - MessageToEagle.com. (2014, February 20). Retrieved
December 27, 2015, from http://www.messagetoeagle.com/prehistoric-evidence-of-sophisticated-prosthetic s-in-ancient-egypt-artificial-toes-helped-egyptians-walk/
100 Year History of Ottobock Prosthetic Legs. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2015, from http://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/prostheses/100yrs.php
Wooden Legs and Duck Feet: A Brief History of Prosthetic Innovation. (n.d.).
Retrieved December 27, 2015, from http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/wooden-legs-and-duck-feet-a-brief-history-of-p rosthetic-innovation
Center For Innovation In Neuroscience and Technology - Neuroprosthetics. (n.d.).
Retrieved December 27, 2015, from http://cint.wustl.edu/project.aspx?NavID=461
(Gannet) P, M., & Ika, O. (2013, October 30). Researchers Developing
Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Devices. Retrieved December 27, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2013/10/30/brain-control-prosthetic s/3316343/
C-Leg 4: Above knee prosthesis — Ottobock. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2015, from http://www.ottobock.co.uk/prosthetics/lower_limb_prosthetics/prosthetic-produc t-systems/c-leg-4/ PAGE 4…...

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