Microprocessors in Prosthetic legs
Some innovative developments in the prosthetics industry have forever changed the way artificial legs work.
These are the invention of microprocessors. These Microprocessors are placed in artificial knee joints and work in the same way human knees actually function and thus add a vast array of possible movements to the amputee’s capabilities.
The principle behind the working of microprocessors
Just as the brain and the body are connected through neurons that constantly communicate and facilitate a wide range of smooth movement, microprocessor knees are equipped with sensors that provide it information about the movement and flexion of the foot and the ankle. Thus, the angle and force of the movement are accurately predicted and the right amount of support is provided.
This innovative technology has made many kinds of movement hitherto thought impossible for an amputee, feasible. This includes walking backward, walking upstairs and running, shuffle step, etc. With microprocessors the patient doesn’t have to concentrate on making a certain kind of movement, the technology does it for him.
Components of a microprocessor
Microprocessors are composed of a hydraulic system that’s fixed inside the prosthesis, a battery, a resistance system, sensors, and a computer and its software- the microprocessor.
Information about the pressure on different parts of the foot and the angle of the knee joint constantly gets relayed to a hydraulic system and some motors that facilitate the intended movement. The information the sensors relay might be as detailed as 40 or 50 impulses in a second. The hydraulic system leaks just the right amount of fluid to help generate the movement. Some resistance is kept constant to keep the knees from jerking.
The microprocessor gets its energy from a battery housed inside the knee joint. Special batteries have been designed to last a long time, and even if they die, the joint behaves like a hydraulic prosthetic allowing a limited range of movement, until the batteries are replaced.
The hydraulics inside the knee joint let a controlled amount of fluid flow to exercising flexion and extension of the leg. The gait cycle- the series of movements involved in walking, stance phase, and swing phase is carefully articulated. The sensory data collected by the microprocessor is used to analyze the kind of movement the amputee is wanting to perform and accordingly the hydraulics are managed to facilitate that movement.
State of the Art Technology
Microprocessors represent the very latest technological advancements in Prosthetics of the leg. Indeed, a wide range of movement has been made possible with safety and comfort.
Patients struggling with another type of prosthetics should definitely consider switching over to microprocessor control technology to afford them a better lifestyle. This state-of-the-art technology ensures them better mobility and safety. The risk of falling is greatly reduced with better-controlled movements. This adds to a sense of security and wellbeing for the patients. Not only that, the technology is continuously evolving, introducing constant innovation and batteries with longer life.