Oxford University researchers have created a revolutionary hand prosthesis powered and controlled by the user’s breathing, providing an alternative to a nineteenth-century discovery.
The device is said to provide an alternative to Bowden cable-driven body-powered prosthesis, particularly for people who are too young or anatomically unsuited to an uncomfortable harness and cable system. The team’s findings have been reported in Prosthesis.
“Our breathing-powered device gives a novel prosthetic option that may be utilised without limiting any of the user’s body movements,” according to senior author Professor Jeroen Bergmann of Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science.
Since the invention of the cable-driven system more than 200 years ago, it has been one of the few genuinely innovative design concepts for the power and control of a body-powered prosthetic.
There are prosthetic choices, but compared to externally powered prostheses, there hasn’t been much progress in developing novel approaches to body-powered devices.
Due to the costs associated with expertise and management, the cable-driven body-powered device can be expensive to buy and maintain in low-resource areas.
The new strategy offers an alternative body-powered device for those worried about cost, maintenance, comfort, and convenience.
Users operate a tiny, specially designed Tesla turbine that controls the movements of prosthetic hands by managing their respiration. Young children may supply the unit with the proper amount of air, and the device’s gearing regulates the speed at which the gripping movement occurs.
The gadget is lightweight, devoid of cables and appropriate for children and adults. Moreover, the ease of use requires little maintenance and expertise.
The researchers partnered with The LimbBo Foundation for kids to create and improve the gadget.
“No two limb differences are the same, and what will help one child will not be suitable for another. Currently, there is some choice available regarding prosthetics, but there are still children who need a completely different approach.”
“For many, their lack of an elbow joint severely limits their access to prosthetic devices, and so we welcomed the chance to be involved with Professor Jeroen Bergmann to look at different approaches. This is an exciting development for many of our children.”