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Introduction to Upper Limb Prosthetics

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3 Author(s)

This chapter overviews the current state of the art of commercial externally powered prostheses and outline current developments in research that will most likely have an important impact on future commercial prosthetic systems. It presents the requirements of advanced prostheses and discusses the rather large gap between commercial systems and systems in academic research. Since the prosthetic hand is a key component in upper limb prosthetics, the chapter mainly focuses on prosthetic hands. In fact, the lack of sufficiently powerful human-machine interfaces-or, more specifically, neural-machine interfaces-is the major limiting factor at the moment in upper limb prosthetics. Given the rather small number of upper limb amputees and the complexity of the advanced solutions discussed in this chapter as well as the excessive costs for clinical evaluation, there is no doubt that prosthetic products based on these technologies could be expensive.