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Robotic Prosthetic Transforming Healthcare and Mobility

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Robotic advancement is revolutionising industries across the globe, bringing increased efficiency, precision, and new frontiers of exploration. These machines transform healthcare, palaeontology, and supply chains, demonstrating their adaptability and potential.

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For instance, in Indonesia’s healthcare industry, robots are crucial, assisting surgeons in procedures, providing rehabilitation therapies, and even delivering medications to patients. Telesurgical robots offer enhanced skill and precision, minimising invasive procedures and improving patient outcomes. Robots can also perform complex manoeuvres and have a more comprehensive range of motion than human hands, helping reduce surgeon and physical fatigue during lengthy procedures and reducing data transmission delays.

In the U.S. alone, robots are revolutionising the field of prosthetics, providing individuals with disabilities newfound mobility and independence. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed robotic prosthetic ankles controlled by nerve impulses, restoring natural movement and stability to amputee patients. This innovative technology holds potential for improving the lives of individuals with lower limb amputations.

It is acknowledged that traditional prosthetic ankles rely on external controls, such as straps or cables, for limited movement. However, these methods often need more precision and responsiveness for natural movement. Neural control, on the other hand, harnesses the power of the user’s nervous system to control the prosthetic device directly. At the same time, this innovation has a lot of advantages, including intuitive and natural movement, improved stability and balance, and enhanced proprioception.

Researchers explored the effectiveness of neural-controlled prosthetic ankles. They collaborated with five individuals who had undergone below-knee amputations on one leg. Each participant was fitted with a prototype robotic prosthetic ankle that responded to muscular signals detected by sensors attached to their portion.

For evaluating the performance of the neural-controlled prosthetic ankles, the participants were instructed to react to an “anticipated perturbation” under two conditions: using their customary prosthetic devices and the robotic prosthetic prototype. The anticipated perturbation involved a sudden shift in the support surface, simulating the experience of encountering an unexpected obstacle or uneven terrain.

The study’s results revealed improvements in stability, balance, and proprioception among participants using the neural-controlled prosthetic ankles compared to their traditional prostheses. Participants equipped with the robotic prototype demonstrated an ability to maintain balance and coordination even when faced with unexpected disruptions. They also exhibited enhanced proprioception, enabling them to perceive the position and movement of their prosthetic ankle with greater precision.

The development of neural-controlled prosthetic ankles represents a leap forward in prosthetics. This technology holds the potential to revolutionise the lives of individuals with amputations, providing them with a level of mobility and independence that was previously unattainable.

As research progresses, neural-controlled prostheses are envisioned to become better and more accessible. Researchers are exploring ways to integrate additional sensory feedback, such as touch and pressure, to enhance the user’s experience further. Additionally, artificial intelligence and machine learning advancements could enable prosthetic devices to learn and adapt to the user’s needs and preferences. The future of neural-controlled prostheses will offer the restoring mobility, improving quality of life, and transforming the lives of individuals with disabilities.


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