The development and progress in prosthetics are driven by the sheer will of human beings. Every human being on this planet is expected to contribute and help humanity reach the zenith of progress. The field is vastly benefitted by allied disciplines like neurosciences and computer sciences. And the biggest gift of neuroscience manifested in the form of bionics, which changed the field for the better. Bionics granted the prostheses the power of executing the will of its wielders.
Prosthetics started its journey in the medieval ages. Back then the materials and availability of prostheses were questionable and not everyone could avail them. Today, prostheses are cheaper, more accessible and are made of user-friendly materials. But the factor of universal applicability is still in question in the case of bionics due to the specific requirements of these prostheses for efficient functioning.
How bionics work
Bionic prostheses are powered by a powerful microcomputer located on board. This computer translated the electromyographic inputs into actions depending on the hardware capabilities of a prosthesis. The electromyographic signals are generated by the muscles and detected by EMG sensors. These sensors are placed in a non-invasive manner on the skin. In relevant alignment with the residual muscles.
The residual muscles
Clearly, the processes involved in the functioning of a bionic prosthesis are dependent on the presence of residual muscles. Amputees who fail to retain the muscles post-amputation can safely be considered ineligible for wielding a bionic prosthesis.
Presence of phantom limb phenomenon
The human body is tuned in a way so that it can make the most out of its anatomy and physiology. Loss of an organ can render an individual severely paralyzed and destroy the usual livelihood. Our organs are supported by multiple relevant anatomical and physiological features so that they can perform efficiently. With the loss of a limb, these structures never cease to exist. Due to their presence, the brain refuses to acknowledge the loss of a limb and the amputee continues to feel the lost limb like it is still there in a phantom form. Phantom limb makes it easy for implementation of bionics due to the superior control of CNS on the remaining anatomical and physiological features of the amputee.
Nature of injury
In the cases of both lower and upper limb prosthetics, the nature of injury determines whether bionics is applicable. The limbs are controlled by specific dermatomes originating from the spinal cord and control the sensory-motor aspects of a limb. An injury damaging the relevant dermatome can render an amputee unable to wield a bionic prosthesis.
Presence of neuropathologies
A bionic prosthesis is calibrated in order to work in synchrony with the nervous system. Hence, the presence of progressive neuropathologies affecting the sensory-motor aspects of the nervous system must be detected beforehand. The calibration and training period is fairly tiresome and long and the presence of neuropathology will only make it complicated. In the case of ALS and epilepsy patients, it is wiser to treat and control the symptoms before wielding a bionic prosthesis.