Controller for Upper-Extremity Prostheses

Tech ID:
HSC-1303

This invention is a method for simple and intuitive control of the increasingly complex upper-extremity robotic prosthetics by mimicking the actions of the remaining sound limb.

 

Background:

The usage of advanced robotics and micro-processing components in prosthetics bestow users with complex ranges of movement that closely mimic their natural limbs. However, these complex mechanical devices are often limited by their control systems. Currently there are rudimentary ‘body powered’ controls in which moving a separate part of the body controls the prosthesis through a cable. There are also more sophisticated electronic systems that can be either simple electric switches or, more commonly, myoelectric biosensor systems. But with newer, more complex prosthetics that have as many as ten degrees of freedom in their movement, even these more advanced user interfaces prove to be difficult to learn and use.

 

The invention uses the movements of an amputee’s contralateral ‘sound limb’ as a symmetrical model for the prosthetic’s movement, orientation, velocity, and force. Effectively, the prosthetic would mirror the movements of the ‘sound limb’ in this mode of operation. This method allows amputees to take advantage of the full range of movement allowed by modern robotic prosthetics. It also allows the prosthetic to take advantage of ‘surrogate feedback’, or the sound limb’s natural sensory feedback, in controlling the force it applies throughout its dexterous maneuvers. The invention can also be used to determine the best sites on the residual anatomy of the amputated limb to place biosensors. Once these sites are determined, this method could be used to ‘train’ and eventually shift control of the prosthetic to the residual limb, so that monitoring of the sound limb is no longer necessary.

 

Commercial Applications & Advantages:

The invention is applicable to the prosthetics market and provides the following advantages over the current upper body prosthetic control systems:

  • Provides a simplified and intuitive user control system
  • Allows amputees to take advantage of the full mechanical capacity of their prosthetics
  • Eliminates the need for many complex feedback mechanisms that would otherwise be implemented in the prosthetic itself
  • Used to transfer and improve control of prosthetics by the residual limb
For information contact:
John Fritz
Sr. Business Development Manager
FRITZJA@UTHSCSA.EDU
210-562-4033
Inventors:
James Schroeder
Patent Information:

United States - Utility

Patent No.

Status: Pending

Keywords: