Lab testing adding haptics to prosthetic hands to help users – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2021-09-14 19:32:55 –

In a room within Dankmeyer Prosthetics and Orthotics, employees are creating and modifying prostheses for those in need.

“We are the interface for managing patients and their devices, and we are primarily doing custom work,” said Mark Hopkins, co-owner of Dankmeyer Prosthetics and Orthotics. “Everything we do is a compromise, we know it, and to simplify it, we are always trying to build a better mousetrap.”

There are different types of prostheses. Despite advances in technology, Hopkins said he regularly faces new challenges.

“The more we have to think about what our clients are doing with their devices, the less we can do about other things,” Hopkins said.

“The more feedback we receive from hand users, the better we can use it,” says Andrew Rubin. He is one of Hopkins’ clients and has both a prosthesis and a hand.

“This isn’t a hand, isn’t it? It’s just a device, a hand that allows me to do things without necessarily thinking about doing it. A study to get to the point where I start thinking of a hand as a smart hand. I really want it, “he said.

“We know that some of the advanced designs we are developing reduce the cognitive burden and make us optimistic,” Hopkins said.

This is what Jeremy Brown and his lab at Johns Hopkins University have been working on.

“Currently, most commercial prostheses do not allow amputees to feel the prosthesis,” said Jeremy Brown of the Haptics and Medical Robotics Institute at Johns Hopkins University. “In fact, we are considering applying tactile feedback in the prosthesis.”

“I find it a little difficult to understand what life is untouched,” he said.

The process of holding something delicate is more difficult for someone with a prosthesis. “I pick up something like an egg without worrying that it will break if I squeeze it too hard,” Brown explained.

The lab uses test devices that provide vibration feedback to let users know when pressure is too tight or too low.

“We all have tactile feedback of some kind of experienced virus on consumer electronics cell phones. Let them know that someone will call you or send you a text message. Whenever your phone vibrates because of it, it’s just a signal of vibration, which is essentially what we use in our lab for research purposes, and we go What we have is to combine the strength of the vibration with the force that is pressing against the prosthesis, “Brown explained.

Rubin says he can see how this technology can help the senses. “We find it important in terms of improving our ability to control things,” he said.

These devices are becoming more sophisticated as more technologies are integrated, from tactile to Bluetooth to 3D printing. Brown hopes to have more participants soon to test tactile feedback.

“My hope is that this study will ultimately lead to future prostheses that function like our natural limbs,” Brown said.

“There are many people in the world who lack limbs … If recovery from illness or trauma is limited, or if functional independence or quality of life is poor, we miss all of this. It’s just that people could be contributing, and for me that’s the big picture, “Hopkins said.

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