Computer-Assisted Prescription of Powered Prostheses


Rapid development of components for powered prostheses has made it difficult to ensure an optimum choice for a specific amputee. There are about 150 powered terminal devices and about 20 myoelectric control options among four manufacturers. Many combinations are not compatible. Selection of a powered system is not a trivial task, even for a unilateral below-elbow amputee. For an above-elbow amputee, or in any situation where unusual circumstances complicate the fitting, the problem is compounded. Ensuring system compatibility with components from various manufacturers requires technical data inaccessible to many clinics. It is proposed to develop a computer program and associated data base which can be used to aid in selecting components. Provision will be made for clinic preferences. Selection of each element will be achieved by following a menu displayed by the computer, with data related to each decision provided automatically as needed. Compatibility of systems will be assured. The component list will be printed with all manufacturers' catalog numbers, suppliers' addresses, and other relevant data. Comments from clinicians are sought concerning the potential value of such a system and features which should be incorporated in it.

*Bio-Engineering Institute, University of New Brunswick, Box 4400, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A3