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Technology and Disability communicates knowledge about the field of assistive technology devices and services, within the context of the lives of end users - persons with disabilities and their family members. While the topics are technical in nature, the articles are written for broad comprehension despite the reader's education or training.
Technology and Disability's contents cover research and development efforts, education and training programs, service and policy activities and consumer experiences.
The term Technology refers to assistive devices and services.
- The term Disability refers to both permanent and temporary functional limitations experienced by people of any age within any circumstance.
- The term and underscores the editorial commitment to seek for articles which see technology linked to disability as a means to support or compensate the person in daily functioning.
The Editor also attempts to link the themes of technology and disability through the selection of appropriate basic and applied research papers, review articles, case studies, programme descriptions, letters to the Editor and commentaries. Suggestions for thematic issues and proposed manuscripts are welcomed.
Abstract: The recent emergence of microprocessor based prosthetic control for the individual with upper limb deficiency has significantly expanded the spectrum of treatment options and inclusion criteria for this patient population. Microprocessors can accept a wide variety of input devices and ranges enhancing an individual's prosthetic function allowing control options for individuals who were at one time not candidates for such prosthetic management. Additionally, myoelectric control parameters can be adjusted. This paper will provide an overview…of input and output devices to acquaint the rehabilitation professional with microprocessor augmentation of current upper limb control modalities. It represents the second paper in a series investigating commercially available microprocessor technology in the field of prosthetics.
Abstract: A myokinemetric transducer has been developed whose output changes with the change in cross-sectional area of the finger flexor muscles associated with the collective movement of the anatomical fingers, about their metacarpo-phalangeal joints. This transducer, in association with a specially developed control program, can synchronise the grasp angle of a prosthetic hand with the anatomical hand during several grasping cycles. Experimental results from this study imply that the accuracy of replication of the anatomical grasp…angle by the prosthetic prehensor is sufficient to consider using a similar method for proportional control of artificial prehension.
Keywords: prosthesis, grasping, hand, myokinemetric control
Abstract: Many prostheses are not being used because of the discrepancy between the expectations of patients with an arm defect and the reality. A patient wants and expects a prosthesis that looks naturally beautiful, that is comfortable to wear and that is easy to use. None of the existing prostheses fulfills all these demands. Based on patient preference and considerations from control theory, a program for the development of voluntary closing hand prostheses is proposed. Advantages are…intuitive operation, accurately controllable pinch force, and inherently good quality feedback of force and motion. Several steps have been undertaken already. Scientific and patent literature has been collected, psychophysical measurements are commenced to establish optimal force perception, rolling-link mechanisms have been studied and developed, and statically balanced spring mechanisms have been investigated and implemented. Furthermore, a preliminary prototype has been manufactured. The design is based on optimal force transmission, and features adaptive fingers, rolling joints, glove compensation, and a special operating pattern. It is intended to develop this prototype into a clinical version and conduct an evaluation study.
Keywords: hand prosthesis, voluntary closing, control, extended physiological proprioception
Abstract: This work represents an ongoing investigation of dexterous and natural control of upper extremity prostheses using the myoelectric signal. The scheme described within uses pattern recognition to process four channels of myoelectric signal, with the task of discriminating six classes of limb movement. The method does not require segmentation of the myoelectric signal data, allowing a continuous stream of class decisions to be delivered to a prosthetic device. Due to the fact that the classifier learns…the muscle activation patterns for each desired class for each individual, a natural control actuation results. The continuous decision stream allows complex sequences of manipulation involving multiple joints to be performed without interruption. The continuous classifier is optimized with respect to the feature set and classifier used, and post-processing of the decisions to eliminate spurious errors.
Abstract: Improving the function of artificial arms remains a considerable challenge, especially for high-level amputations where the disability is greatest. It may be possible to denervate expendable regions of muscle in or near an amputated limb and graft the residual peripheral nerves to this muscle. The surface EMG signals from the nerve-muscle grafts would then be used as additional control signals for an externally powered prosthesis. Such a system would allow the simultaneous control of multiple degrees-of-freedom…in a prosthesis and could greatly improve the function of myoelectric prostheses. The potential advantages, requirements for successful implementation and synergies with other research are discussed.
Abstract: A two degree-of-freedom microprocessor based controller that uses the principle of Extended Physiological Proprioception (EPP), was designed for the simultaneous multifunctional control of upper-limb prostheses. In an EPP system, the output is related to the input by a mechanically ``unbeatable'' position servomechanism. Use of embedded microprocessor systems in the control of upper-limb prostheses provides a high degree of control algorithm flexibility allowing different control algorithms to be downloaded and executed in the…same controller circuit. In addition, control parameters can be easily adjusted and tailored to different user capabilities. In a trans-humeral or shoulder disarticulation prosthesis we envision this controller enabling EPP control of both elbow flexion-extension, and humeral rotation. In a wrist disarticulation or trans-radial prosthesis this controller, in conjunction with other similar controllers, could provide EPP control of individual digits in a multifunctional hand prosthesis.
Keywords: prosthetics, upper extremity, extended physiological proprioception (EPP), microprocessor systems, position control, servo control, servomechanism, stiffness control
Abstract: This paper presents an innovative multi-function myoelectric hand prosthesis, where the key technology is a new hardware paradigm called evolvable hardware (EHW). An EHW chip, which is capable of adapting its own circuit structure to changes in specifications, is used as the action decision circuit of the mechanical hand to classify myoelectric patterns, because myoelectric signals vary both among individuals and over time for the same individual. Beside, because the EHW chip executes myoelectric pattern…classification with a simple logic circuit, it is suitable for applications where size is an important consideration, such hand prosthesis.
Keywords: hand prosthesis, electromyography, evolvable hardware chip
Abstract: This study implemented consumer-level, Internet-based video conferencing for remote configuration of the Otto Bock C-Leg prosthesis. After connecting the C-Leg to a computer, running the SLIDERS control software, and making an IP connection over NetMeeting, a prosthetist at the host site configured a client's C-Leg at the remote site. This protocol was repeated at various connect speeds. Successful C-Leg configurations were completed at all laboratory bandwidths; however, the 33 Kbps rate made the configuration process…more difficult. Tests over the public Internet provided unacceptable results at 28~Kbps. Slow data transmission rates limited the "application shared" SLIDERS program from refreshing at a sufficient rate to keep up with the leg dynamics. Similar tests between Canada and China produced successful application sharing results over a broadband connection.
Keywords: prosthetic, telehealth, gait, physical rehabilitation, Internet