I thought I'd share a few more notes I took at the very beginning of the second semester, concerning prosthetics. This was back when Daniel and I were still learning about prosthetics and needed to decide what our arm and leg should be able to do. Here's a little of what we learned:
1. There are 4 main types of limb prosthetics (although prosthesis in general also includes things like  hearing aids, retainers, dentures, and artificial eyes)
Transtibial-- Below the knee
Transfemoral-- Above the knee
Transradial-- Below the elbow
Transhumeral-- Above the elbow
Our prototypes are transfemoral and transhumeral, by the way, but we plan on creating versions of all four before the year is out. 
2. The design considerations that we needed to think about for our prototypes were listed right on the website:
Performance
  • Energy storage and return-- storage of energy acquired through ground contact and the utilization of that energy for propulsion.
  • Energy absorption-- minimizing the effect of high impact of the muscoskeletal system
  • Ground compliance-- stability independent of terrain type or angle
  • Rotation-- ease of changing direction
  • Weight-- maximizing comfort, balance, speed
  • Suspension-- how the socket will join and fit to the limb

Cosmetics
Cost-- turns out a transradial or transtibial prosthetic usually costs $6,000-8,000 and a transfemoral or transhumeral prosthetic is $10,000-15,000. Yikes. 
Ease of Use
Size Availability


Daniel and I were shocked at how much detail has to go in the prosthetics to make them safe and comfortable for people, and vowed to keep it all in mind while we built our prototypes. 

 
 
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Daniel's busy cadding the wheelchair, so it's time for me to do a little research on wheelchairs. Today I learned all about proper wheelchair protocol-- or wheelchair etiquette. When addressing someone who is wheelchair bound, or while assisting that person by pushing their wheelchair for them, there are certain things that are really important to remember. 
Here's a few of the things I learned to be aware of:


1. Don't forget that a person in wheelchair has to look up at you! To make it easier on their necks, sit down or squat when talking to them.


2. Be aware of potholes and obstructions in the wheelchair's path. Try to steer around rocks and obstructions that would jostle the person sitting down. It may not seem like wheeling over a rock is such a big disturbance, but to someone who is hurt or impaired, any kind of jostling is never good. 


3. Don't ever hang or lean on the chair; it's kind of like leaning on the person. 


4. Above all, remember that a wheelchair user is a person, and not just a "package to be pushed around!" Imagine how frustrating it would be to be treated like that just because you couldn't walk!


After I learned all about wheelchair etiquette, I studied how to properly clean a wheelchair (since they have to last a very long time!) I read different techniques for cleaning the frame, cushions, and the wheels which has to be done at least every week. Interesting stuff! Since I hope to work with patients of my own someday, I'm sure it'll be important to learn everything I can about wheelchairs. 


I studied using information from here and here

 
 
While Daniel cad-ded the leg and arm prosthetics, I had a lot of time on my hands. I decided to learn all about the amputee process. It was fascinating learning about the different phases an appendage goes through before and after definitive closure of the wound, and it was especially intriguing the way an amputee can experience phantom feeling from a limb that's no longer there. I enjoyed reading about how to properly wrap an amputation (before a patient could wear one of the prosthetics we're designing, it'd be important to wrap the limb to prevent discomfort and infection) and I even drew my own diagrams to refer to. Daniel and I hope to secure a dressmaker's dummy, or perhaps a mannequin to test drive our prosthetics, and I can't wait to try out my wrapping skills! Here's a few pictures of my notes:
I studied using information from here