Purpose: Upper limb prostheses are part of a rapidly changing market place. Despite development in device design, surveys report low levels of uptake and dissatisfaction with current prosthetic design. In this study, we present the results of a survey conducted with people with upper limb difference in Australia on their use of current prostheses and preferences in a prosthetic in order to inform future prosthetic hand design.
Methods: An online survey was conducted on upper limb amputees, with 27 respondents that completed the survey. The survey was a mixture of open-ended questions, ranking design features and quantitative questions on problems experienced and desired attributes of future prosthesis designs.
Results: Common key issues and concerns were isolated in the survey related to the weight, manipulation and dexterity, aesthetics, sensory feedback and financial cost; each of which could be addressed by additive manufacturing and soft robotics techniques.
Conclusions: The adaptability of additive manufacturing and soft robotics to the highlighted concerns of participants shows that further research into these techniques is a feasible method to improve patient satisfaction and acceptance in prosthetic hands.Implications for rehabilitation Even with recent developments and advances in prosthetic design, the needs and desires of prosthetic users are not being met with current products. The desires and needs of those with upper limb difference are diverse. Using additive manufacturing to produce prosthetics allows for mass customization of prosthetics to meet these diverse needs while reducing costs. A soft robotic approach to prosthetics can help meet the desires of reducing weight and costs, while maintaining functionality.