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Virtual Dictionary

Smart Prosthetic

A smart prosthetic is defined as any prosthetic device anchored on or into a human body which is capable of decision making, essentially. They fall into several broad categories:

1. A prosthetic device that is capable of sensing its environment and deducing the user's intentions without a direct link to the user's neural architecture.

These devices can be anything from an anti-epilepsy deep brain implant that senses the neurochemical changes in the brain preceding an epileptic seizure and acts to alter that neurochemistry to prevent the seizure from ever taking place. Right the way through to a prosthetic limb that uses a record of its user's habits or body language to anticipate where it needs to be next – and moves itself into position ready.

2. A prosthetic device connected to the user's nervous system in some manner, able to take indirect commands via that nervous system's impulses.

An example of this type of smart prosthetic would be a leg connected to a mammalian nervous system via TMR (targeted muscle re-enervation) or a similar technology. It reads neural impulses that would normally control a different area of the body, and responds to them as command codes.

This type of smart prosthetic moves at the behest of the nervous system, but doesn't understand the signals being sent to it by that system. Instead, each signal pulse is treated as simply a unique data value to be assigned a command almost arbitrarily by the prosthetic, and which the user adapts to over time. The result is a prosthetic device under the direct control of the central nervous system of an organic being, but one which the mind of that being has had to learn how to operate from scratch.

3. A prosthetic device connected to the user's nervous system in a direct manner, interfacing with the neural codes transmitted by the nervous system, and correctly discerning their meaning.

These types of smart prosthetics are the most complex, and perhaps the most rewarding to the end-user. They are also the type that tend to use the same sort of interface as a virtual or augmented reality interface connecting directly to the user's thoughts, feelings, and/or reflexes would take.

The signal codes transmitted down the neurons of the animal nervous system aren't completely random. Every code has a specific meaning, and different codes transmitted down the same nerve axon will command a muscle to perform different actions, or give different types of feedback from a mechanoreceptor.

A smart prosthetic interfacing with the body via this method will have to perform a lot of pattern matching in real-time in order to teach itself what the codes are actually asking for. It does the learning and adapting rather than the user, so that in the end, the prosthetic moves in the same way, to the same commands, as the original body part did. To the end-user it thus feels the same as the original body part, in function if not necessarily in form. There is minimal to no learning curve associated with basic movement, and the prosthetic body part is under full conscious and subconscious control.

See Also: Neural Code, Mechanoreceptor, TMR, DBS, BMI, AI, Expert system, Neural Network, ERP, Gesture Control, Gait Analysis, Biometric Control Interface, False Reject Rate, False Non-Match Rate

Below, we offer a selection of links from our resource databases which may match this term.

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Resources in our database matching the Term Smart Prosthetic:

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Locally Hosted resource
Large Image Display: The Stepford Wives: Smart Home Interface
Here we see Claire, acting in her guise as spokeswoman for Stepford, showing off the smart house system. In a manner so eagerly aped in our world by electronics firms from all developed nations, Stepford has been striving to create a truly smart house, in which all appliances are networked together, controlled by a central brain, making the house 'smart'.

Locally Hosted resource
A Literal Sensor Web Comes into Its Own
It was only a matter of time before someone took the concept of a sensor web literally, and created a smart mesh web that could cover an object and detect when and where any breaches in the web occur. That wait is now over, and the first such smart fabric now exists.

Linked resource
Will chatting smart cars become a reality soon?
A BBC article looking at the rise of the smart car AI driven cars that will soon be able to communicate with cloud services for traffic control, communicate with the humans on board, and work in flocks to drive themselves with consideration (and a degree of literal mind-reading) of each other's positions and goals.

Locally Hosted resource
Large Image Display: Teeth Designed for Prosthetic Jaws
The difficulties of implanting a prosthesis deep into the body don't end when the prosthetic is in-place and working. You have to think about the systems that depended on the piece that was removed, to function properly. In the case of a prosthetic jaw, what do you do about the teeth?

Linked resource
You Tube of the first haptic, bionic arm versus a non-haptic
A comparison. Two women, both with prosthetic limbs. On the left, a standard prosthetic. On the right, a haptic prosthetic giving touch feedback. Who can complete the task faster, and is there much difference?

Locally Hosted resource
Podcast: John La Grou plugs smart power outlets
This podcast comes from TED 2009, where electronics inventor John La Grou shows off the capabilities of a sensor web of smart power outlets in every home, where the outlet knows what is plugged into it, and how much power the device is consuming, and when it consumes it.

AS 2007 draws to a close, this timeline chronicles some of the most landmark developments in prosthetic implants and prosthetic limb technology in 2007.

Locally Hosted resource
Infection-Proof Prosthetic Paw
A Belgian German Shepard dog called Storm, has become the first person to be fitted with a prosthetic implant which fits into the bone and sticks through the skin with no risk of infection to the animal.

Locally Hosted resource
Augmented Reality Hip Replacement
Usually, creation of a prosthetic limb errs on the lighter side, sacrificing capability for lightness. This is because until now, it has not been possible to examine the surviving bone in enough detail to safely screw a prosthetic into the bone.


Industry News containing the Term Smart Prosthetic:

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Researchers say they're making progress toward better connections between prosthetic hands and the brain, potentially paving the way for amputees to do such things as type, sense hot and cold, and touch others.

If new strate...

An infection at the site of a prosthetic joint attachment is one of the worst events that can occur. Infections inflame the tissue, loosening the fit of the prosthetic, and the increased immune system activity can sometimes force rejection ...

Stryker Corp. has announced the clinical release of a different kind of prosthetic interface, one that bears watching. Unlike traditional prosthetic-to-bone fusions, Stryker?s latest titanium mounting is pockmarked with holes and gaps, cove...

Haemair Ltd., a Welsh company out of Swansea, has won this year's Stopford Projects Award for Bioprocess Innovation from the UK's Institution of Chemical Engineers. The company says that it is working on a compact prosthetic lung capable ...

Idaho State University is working on creating a prosthetic hand that will be implanted and provide a sense of touch by converting impulses sent to and from the brain.

Engineers, a biomedical researcher and a physical and occu...