Upper Extremity Prosthetics Technologies

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Upper Extremity Prosthetics Technologies


Historical Perspective

Body powered (by 1950s, pretty mature [major efforts after WW II (and WW I, etc.)]

Externally powered (1960's to present)

Goals (a challenge to identify)

Level of amputation(s) -- below elbow (BE) vs above elbow (AE)

Relative importance of function vs aesthetics

task analysis

Basic Components 

Socket & support structures

"arm" (if AE)

Terminal device (e.g., hand)

Overview of Alternative Options (from Advanced Arm Dynamics)

"Conventional" Body-Powered Systems

Harness: for control & support

control: shoulder shrugs, etc.

support (covered last week -- but now more tensile & shear loading)

Terminal devices

voluntary closing (VC) vs voluntary opening (VO)

hook vs hand

activity-specific terminal devices (e.g., sports)

 Concept of "Extended Physiological Proprioception" (EPP)

Products (web):

US Manufacturing Co

OandP Products Resource

Liberty Upper Extremity Prosthetics

Externally-Powered Systems


advantages;  braided vs cylinders, problem of power supply

Electric Motors (e.g., DC)


"switch" (mech, myo) vs "proportional" (myo)

different ad-hoc strategies (e.g., prop + locking)

feedback -- mech, electrocutaneous, visual

local feedback control:  pos? vel? stiffness?

Otto Bock ErgoArm Elbow & SensorHand

Motion Control (Utah)


Mixing of components

Ex: ext powered elbow, body-powered hand



Copyright by Jack Winters.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact Jack Winters.
Last updated: February 20, 2001.