We began our research by looking at limb loss statistics from the Amputee Coalition since we considered this to be a reliable source. Notable statistics include the following:
- Almost 2 million people in the US live with limb loss.
- The main cause of limb loss is vascular disease (54%)- including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease- trauma (45%), and cancer (1%).
- Roughly 185,000 amputations occur annually in the US.
- Hospital costs in 2009 for amputations were $8.3 billion.
- African Americans are up to four times more likely to have an amputation than white Americans.
We then reviewed a powerpoint that was presented to students at Stanford by Maurice LeBlanc, MSME, CP. The powerpoint gave useful information for arm amputee statistics worldwide:
- 3 million people worldwide have an arm amputation (makes up 30% of all amputees),
- 2.4million of arm amputees live in developing countries.
- 1.77million have an amputation below the elbow, 0.84million have an amputation above the elbow/elbow disarticulation, 0.24million have a shoulder amputation, and 0.15million have a hand or should amputation.
We then looked into the market for prosthetics starting with an article from Cision PR Newswire:
- The global prosthetics and orthotics market size is expected to reach USD 12.28 billion by 2025
- Increasing incidence of sports injuries, rising incidence of osteosarcoma, and expanding geriatric population base are key factors driving market growth.
- The rising geriatric population across the globe has become one of the key factors driving demand for prosthetics and orthotics.
- The number of people aged 60 years or over globally is expected to more than double by 2050, increasing from 962 million in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050.
- Geriatrics are more susceptible to conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, making them common users of various orthopedic solutions.
Looking into some products for people with arm amputees, we looked at an article from Medgadget:
- The Global Robotics Prosthetics Market, as per a report by Market Research Future (MRFR) is touted to register a CAGR of 9.5% during the forecast period (2016-2027).
- Robotics prosthetics can be referred to as an artificial limb, which improves the lifestyle and function of a person with a missing body part.
- The rising number of trauma cases and accidents and surging incidences if chronic diabetes has increased the number of amputation surgeries in the U.S.
- Robotics prosthetics help to mimic the functionality and appearance of missing body parts.
- The advent of mind-controlled humonics is considered one of the most vital robotic prosthetic trends that is likely to impact the market growth, especially in the U.S. It helps to fulfill the unmet needs of volitional control and lost sensation and development of aesthetics like gestures, which is not possible with orthopedic prosthetics.
- Industry Update:
- August 2019: An all-new electronic skin system, Asynchronous Coded Electronic Skin is equipped with ultra-high responsiveness and is capable of pairing with any sensor skin layers in order to function efficiently as an electronic skin. This artificial nervous system can give prosthetic devices and robots a sense of touch, which is better than human skin.
- June 2019: A mechatronics graduate from Simon Fraser University has designed a 3D printed humanoid robot finger that can mimic the strength and tenderness of a human hand. Robots equipped with these flexible fingers can be used to help people with mobility challenges as well as limb differences.
Continuing to look at products for individuals with arm amputees, we looked at an article from Phuket News:
- The Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) comes from researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland in the United States. It responds to electrical impulses from the wearer’s residual limb so users can move their hand by thinking about it.
- It has 100 sensors, 26 joints, 17 motors, and a one very small computer in the palm of its hand. This is the world’s most sophisticated prosthetic limb: a bionic arm that moves with your mind.
- To use the MPL, surgery is required to. The surgery involves rerouting nerves in the residual muscles of the stump of the arm. The MPL then uses signals from the rerouted nerves to control the machinery of the arm, creating more natural movements.
Engadget also mentions another company that makes state of the art prothetic arms:
- Thanks to 3D scanning and printing, Open Bionics can custom build each arm, and do so faster and cheaper than its competitors.
- According to the company, Hero Arm’s muscle sensors enable lifelike precision and multiple grips. Motors allow for haptic feedback and beepers and lights provide other notifications to the wearer.
- Even with all of that technology, the arm weighs less than a kilogram, and it can be used by anyone over the age of eight.
Lastly, we looked at an article from TechLink that spoke about a prosthetic that allowed for more sport like activities:
- There are now specialized prosthetics for tennis, running, cycling and a host of other activities. While those are more prevalent, there are also prosthetics specific to weight training.
- One new device for above-the-elbow amputees has been designed by a military veteran amputee who is also a weightlifter. The prosthetic enables the wearer to perform the popular bench press and other exercises.
- All adjustments can be done with one hand
- Use of both arms in weight lifting balances the effort and gains from the exercise
- The prosthetic can be used by a below-the-elbow amputee as a forearm attachment for similar purposes