Amputee Lab – Occupational Therapy Students
We had an lab on amputee equipment the other day. We’ve had a man with below-elbow bilateral amputations (notice my person-first language) come in before to talk to us and allow us to look at his prostheses. The same man came in, along with a man from CFI, and he showed us their myo-electric stuff. We saw very realistic hands, and we got to put EMG sensors on us, secure them with a band, and then use our extensor and flexor muscles to open and close a fake hand just through our muscle movement…it’s a form of biofeedback to train people how to use their new arm. Here are a bunch of pictures, and I’ll update this soon with a very short video of me controlling the fake hand just through sensors on my arm.
We have this lab because OTs can be instrumental in helping a person learn how to use their new arms so it’s important we are familiar with the technology/design. What is pretty sad is that the hooks are still more functional than the fake hands – they look real, but don’t function very well. So the hands are more for cosmesis, typically.
Anyway, it’s amazing how functional a person with below-elbow bilateral amputations and hooks can be! Very impressive. Many of them go through the famed Sandy Fletchall, president of TOTA and the OT at Capabilities for Living. She works with people who have undergone catastrophic injuries and she is legendary. Tough as nails, energetic as a bumblee, extremely compassionate, and gets the job done!
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