Advancements In Prosthetics And Artificial Limbs: How Technology Will Change The Way You Move

If you are one of the 1.6 million Americans who currently requires an artificial limb, you may be wondering how artificial limbs will improve in the future. Many technological advancements have already taken place, restoring mobility and a higher quality of life to many amputees. However, there are more advancements on the horizon, many of which will make you almost bionic by comparison. Here are just a few of those advancements that may be available to you sooner rather than later.

Artificial Limbs with Neural Sensors

Since most voluntary muscle movement (e.g., raising your hand, moving a leg to push the pedal on a bicycle) is directly linked to the neural pathways in your spinal column, technology has developed artificial limbs that are connected to several neural sensor patches. These neural sensors are very similar to the technology used to alleviate neurological pain; the patches stick to certain areas of your back and respond to the neural impulses that travel from your brain and spinal cord to the nerves just under the skin of your back. The only difference is, the pain sensors work to alleviate back pain, while the neural sensors for the artificial limbs read and "interpret" the intended movements you wanted to make with the artificial limbs.

Lightweight, Fully Articulated Feet and Hands

Some of the current issues with prosthetic feet and hands is that they are either solid and do not respond naturally to movement or they have limited movement, like the "claw" prosthetic for missing hands. Very soon, you should be able to replace these artificial limbs with fully articulated ones. The technology was already introduced in 2013. Scientists are now trying to figure out how to make the hands and feet look less robotic and more human with "flesh" coatings and coverings, although that may be up to you whether or not you want a "flesh coat" for your technologically advanced hands and/or feet.

Prosthetics with Personality and Animal Design

You have probably seen some para-olympic athletes run with the strangest of prosthetics. These new designs in artificial limbs come from the animal kingdom instead of the human world. While strange in appearance, they are actually very effective at making you run faster, walk taller and increase your self-confidence through increased abilities. Some very famous people, like Peggy Chenowith, have more than just one faux limb that they use as accessories to their daily dress. They even employ the manufacturers' skills to personalize the limbs and make their own artificial limbs one-of-a-kind.

For prosthetics in your area, contact a company like Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic.

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