Losing an arm or leg due to an accident or military action is always devastating. When considering how to continue with life and feel any sense of normalcy, it can seem like an impossible obstacle to overcome. But, thanks to new technology, the tragic event of losing an arm or leg doesn’t have to be a hindrance that keeps you from doing what you love to do! There are so many options today in modern times that make this possible that were not available even a few decades ago. If you’ve suffered this misfortune, there is much hope to be had. That hope can be found in the brilliant designs and inventions of scientists all over the world. Here are some examples of some very unique and innovative technology that is helping people who have undergone amputations become more mobile and active than ever!
One health professional that has made leaps and bounds (literally) in the technology of prosthetic limbs is Dr. Hugh Herr. In 2006, he founded the prosthetics company iWalk. One of their featured devices is the BiOM. What makes this specific prosthetic special is that it was the world’s first working bionic ankle system. Battery powered robotics are used to imitate calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. The system is so effective that patients can even enjoy activities such as jogging and feel the normal range of motion they feel in their opposite leg!
Prosthetic limbs aren’t just designed nowadays to be practical and functional, they’re also becoming more and more stylish. Bespoke Innovations is a company that manufactures custom prosthetics covers, each created for each unique patient. While the functionality of the prosthetic limb is there, it is hidden by a covering that matches the style of the wearer. There are a variety of materials to choose from. Coverings can even be made with embedded, custom designs. For example, patients have ordered prosthetic legs that have patterns that resemble their tattoos.
Technology breakthroughs have also been made in the way of prosthetic, robotic arms as well. Back in 2006, America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a program to aid war veterans who had lost an arm in combat. This project was called “Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program”. Researchers and scientists have made amazing discoveries and have been able to construct robotic arms and hands that are brain-controlled! And just think…. this was back in 2006 when there were only two individuals involved in their experiments. The name of this particular program is called “BrainGate”. It not only helps those with lost limbs, but also those who are paralyzed from stroke.
Mikalah Richfield is a freelance writer and a contributor at healthdisturbances.com– a blog about ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.