Programmable Control: Clinical Experience At Bloorview MacMillan Centre
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Advances in microprocessor technology in recent years have led to the introduction of programmable control systems for powered prosthetics. These systems allow amputees to try a variety of control schemes and choose the one that suits them best. Prosthetists, no longer limited to preprogrammed control schemes, can devise new schemes that are suited for the amputee's individual needs. Over the past few years, Bloorview MacMillan Centre has fit approximately 20 clients with programmable control systems. A retrospective analysis of this group, which includes amputation levels fiom below-elbow to shoulder disarticulation, demonstrates the benefits this approach. The benefits fall into four general categories: 1) evolution of the control system as the user's needs and abilities change, 2) the amputee's ability to choose their own preferred strategy, 3) accommodation of abnormal and noisy signals and 4) ability to accommodate high-level amputees. This paper will summarize our clinical experience with programmable control. Case studies illustrating this approach and its various benefits will be presented.
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