REAL-TIME COMPUTER MODELING OF A PROSTHESIS CONTROLLER BASED ON EXTENDED PHYSIOLOGICAL PROPRIOCEPTION (EPP)
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Proprioception utilizes the physiological components of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to allow an individual to sense the position of their limbs subconsciously. By providing a rigid connection to an object this proprioceptive ability can be extended to the object and allow the user to sense the spatial location and orientation of these objects with respect to his or her body. This concept explains how a person can use a tennis racquet to hit a tennis ball without having to observe the position of the racquet during their swing or the way a blind person uses a long cane to ‘feel’ the location of objects in their surroundings. Body-powered prostheses take advantage of this proprioceptive ability by relating the motion and position of the prosthesis to the motion and position of an intact joint of the amputee via the control cable. However, most externally powered prostheses do not have any mechanism with which to provide feedback regarding the state of the prosthesis to the proprioceptive system of the amputee. In these cases the amputee must rely on vision and other incidental sources of feedback such as motor whine and socket pressure to control their prostheses and this may place a significant cognitive load on the user.
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