There are several accessible prosthetic choices depending on the degree of difference in the upper limbs. However, apart from great scientific efforts on sophisticated (and very expensive) externally powered prostheses, little progress has been made in developing new techniques for powering and controlling body-operated devices.
The most widely used functional upper limb prosthesis continues to be the motorized cable system. In some areas of the world with limited resources it can be prohibitive to own and maintain, due to the costs associated with professional assembly and maintenance.
A new approach developed by the University of Oxford (here you will find more information) provides an alternative device. Airbender, this is the name of the new prosthesis, is powered by the body. To be precise, from breathing. A great solution for users in situations where cost, maintenance, comfort and ease of use are crucial.
A breathing controlled prosthesis
By regulating breathing, users power a small, purpose-built Tesla turbine. The turbine is able to precisely control the movements of the fingers of the hand. The volume of air needed to power the unit can be achieved even by small children, and the gear in the unit determines the speed of the intake.
The device is free of cables and wiring. This makes it easily suitable for children and adolescents, even in changing stages of growth. Compared to other prosthetic options, only minimal maintenance and training are required for ease of use. The researchers collaborated with LimbBo, a leading UK charity for children with limb problems. Thanks to their invaluable help, they developed and perfected the device, including testing phases.
This "respiratory" prosthesis is extraordinary. It has the potential to expand prosthetic options for children and adolescents., Especially in developing countries lacking adequate technology. There it can make a real difference.
These are my favorite "postcards" from the future. Brilliant, decisive, inclusive and intended for the new generations. I could only talk about it!