Ultrasound Technology for Amputees

Ultrasound Technology Helps Amputees Gain Control of Prosthetics

George Mason University researchers are developing cutting-edge ultrasound technology thanks to new research funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. The technology will be used to help amputees gain control of prosthetics.

Mason Engineering’s Department of Bioengineering associate professor Siddhartha Sikdar stated, “Our goal is to help amputees go about their daily lives with improved function.” Sikdar launched a feasibility study with amputees and noted that upper-body extremity prostheses are typically controlled by electrical methods that sense muscle activity.

 

 

Electrodes on the skin detect electrical activity as the amputee attempts to perform movements. However, these electrodes cannot differentiate between signals from various muscles in the forearm that control the fingers. Amputees are often discouraged by these limitations, and they often give up because the prosthetics do not improve their quality of life.

“It’s really a shame,” says Sikdar, “because modern prosthetic hands are sophisticated systems. The biggest challenge has been to provide users with a reliable, noninvasive, and intuitive method to control these devices.”

Researchers have been investigating a new method for operating prostheses using ultrasound waves, which sense muscle activity. Miniature ultrasound transducers, worn as small bands on the forearm or under the prosthetic shell, will send sound waves through the body and detect reflected sound waves. These signals will then be analyzed using computer algorithms designed to recognize muscle activity. Unlike other methods, this one is able to differentiate between different muscle groups, allowing for dexterity in controlling upper body prosthetics.

The Department of Defense has offered the team a grant to fund their research, due to the technology’s ability to vastly improve the lives of servicemen and women wounded in action. Another grant, provided by the National Science Foundation, funds research and experimentation geared toward developing exoskeletons for people with spinal cord injuries.

Additional testing includes extending the method to lower-limb prostheses and training people to use the prosthetics through video games. This technology has the potential to help amputees around the world obtain a better quality of life. “Knowing that this technology can potentially help real people keeps us all highly motivated,” says Sikdar, who has applied for patents and is preparing to commercialize the technology once his latest research proves successful.

Source:

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20171116/Researchers-use-ultrasound-technology-to-help-amputees-get-greater-control-of-prosthetics.aspx

Other Popular Stories

  • Bombardier nearly ready to flight test CSeries
  • Manufacturing the sole industry showing job losses in February
  • Canadian oil production up; producers turning to railways for shipment
  • SPPCA's new landing gear facility opening in Mississauga
  • FTG Aerospace to supply avionics to Rockwell Collins
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • RV industry has growing role in Canada's economy: study
  • Japex to buy into west coast LNG development
  • Volkswagen to produce super-efficient hybrid
  • Miners struggling with higher costs, lower prices
  • Canadian business, except energy, had profitable Q4: Statistics Canada
  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada announces helicopter engine contracts
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • GM investing $250 million at Ingersoll plant
  • DART Aerospace re-branding itself to reach wider markets
  • Russian leasing company orders 42 CSeries jets from Bombardier
  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
Scroll to Top