A bionic prosthesis is an instrument, designed for being a part of daily life. After the loss of a limb, incompleteness creeps in, which is detrimental to the mental health of an amputee. Certain habits and rewarding activities cease to exist in life. But the anatomical modifications remain active delivering a frustrating pseudo sensation of the lost arm. This sensation sometimes becomes unbearable and painful. In addition to all the frustrations, an amputation can take away body balance and render the amputee completely dependent on support for mobility.
Before the emergence of bionics, prostheses were more of a cosmetic enhancement, with little to no functional aspect to it. With time prosthetics were benefited from the developments in allied disciplines. And today a modern-day bionic prosthetic arm can follow the wielder’s wills. However, the quantity and quality of gestures and actions depend on the hardware and computational power of a prosthesis. Rehabilitation from post-amputation complications is the primary goal of a bionic prosthesis. And in order to do that, a bionic prosthesis gives back many of the lost abilities. Though the giving back of sensory abilities solely depends on the sensor paradigm.
These wonderful instruments of rehabilitation can not be implemented in the case of an amputee. The limitations in the path of this implementation span through the domains of psyche and physic. This article will try to explain the limitations and also draw a sketch of an ideal candidate.
How it works
A bionic prosthesis is controlled by a powerful microcomputer. This computer translates electromyographic data into gestures and actions, depending on the hardware. The EMG signal is generated by muscle contraction and expansion and picked up by non-invasive EMG sensors placed on the skin. The computer then conveys the message resulting in gestures and actions.
The right musculature
As the working mechanism suggests, a bionic prosthesis can not be operated without EMG signals. And the sole source of electromyographic signals is the muscles. Amputations are desperate and extreme measures, done in order to save a life from ending. The candid nature of the procedure prevents the surgeons from always retaining the functional muscle residues. Thus, amputees, not able to retain a functional set of residual muscles, can not wield a bionic prosthesis with success.
Phantom limb phenomenon
The human body is a delicate instrument, adopted to utilize most of its anatomy. The loss of a limb can throw this balanced system into chaos. And amputee loses all hope and find themself incomplete. The anatomical modifications like synapses and myelination remain intact and active even after the limb is lost. Due to the presence of these modifications, the human brain refuses to acknowledge the loss of a limb. As a result, a pseudo sensation of the lost limb remains. And sometimes this frustrating sensation becomes severely painful. This syndrome is known as the phantom limb phenomenon. It is considered the ripest of times when the pain is at its prime for the implementation of a bionic prosthesis. A late initiative from an amputee can result in obliteration of this pain hence, nullifying the probability of a successful installation.
Nature of the injury
A set of functional muscles can only thrive if the underlying neuronal mechanism is intact. An injury affecting the relevant dermatome or the relevant vertebrae can render a neural network unbuckled. In these scenarios, a bionic prosthesis can not be implemented. Even without the muscles, the neuromusculoskeletal sensor paradigm can help in functioning. But in case of such injuries it is extremely unlikely to have any other way around the problem. Hence the nature of injury and post-injury healing is essential before the implementation of a bionic prosthesis.
Mindset and willingness
A prosthetic arm can definitely not replace a real arm. But a bionic prosthetic hand can give back many of the lost abilities. In the case of a few amputees, loss o, a limb can mean loss of livelihood. Hence, many simply can not afford to live with an absent limb. Only these individuals with a strong reason can go through the training and incubation process. Without the will, it is impossible to compete for the rigorous training and learn the capabilities and limitations of a new enhancement.