Electronic Touch Controls for Prostheses

WILLIAM R. NICHOL, CPO(C)**Winnipeg, Manitoba

Difficulties associated with fitting high level upper-limb amputees with myoelectric control systems can be resolved with single- or multi-function pressure switches when myoelectric control is contraindicated. Many problems identified with available switch systems made it obvious that more reliable touch control is required. A grant from the local Variety Club in Manitoba was obtained to pursue development of a totally electronic touch control. To expedite the project and allow us to check various designs, computer-aided design software was obtained, allowing all original layouts and changes to be made on the computer prior to producing a negative for printed circuitry production. Initially, a simple on/off switch system was developed, using membrane switches within the socket which are routed through appropriate electronics to control the on/off and direction of a motor. The next phase in this project is to produce a control system capable of providing multiple functions from one control site, We hope to design a totally electronic system that is reliable, easily adjusted to each patient, and readily repaired.

**Rehabilitation Centre far Children, 633 Wellington Crescent, Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada R3M OA8