Prosthetic devices can get quite advanced in terms of their capabilities, power, and responsiveness, but it’s often their interfaces with the human body that read the person’s wishes that often cause failures. Unwanted activation of a prosthesis can be quite dangerous, potentially leading to falls and further injury. To prevent these events and help such devices work more reliably, researchers at North Carolina State University are introducing errors into a special prosthetic on purpose to see which errors are particularly dangerous and how to address them.
The researchers discovered that certain system errors were considerably more dangerous to the user than others. Some were barely even noticed by the prosthesis wearer at all. Generally, it was the negative events that lasted longer and that happened when weight was being applied to the prosthetic that were particularly concerning.
Here’s an example of the testing that the team has been working on, showing an error event that doesn’t cause too much trouble for the amputee:
Study in IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering: Effects of Locomotion Mode Recognition Errors on Volitional Control of Powered Above-Knee Prostheses…