Lending a Hand: the future of Prosthetics

by Futurist Kit Worzel

Two hundred years ago, a significant injury to an extremity meant you would lose it, and have to deal with a rudimentary prosthetic. Fifty years ago, the same injury might not cost you the limb, but if it did, you at least had the option of a prosthetic that gave back some functionality, and was designed with comfort in mind. Twenty years ago, the first microprocessor controlled prosthetic, the Intelligent Prosthesis knee, was developed and aided people to walk with a much more normal gait. Today, we have a wide variety of prostheses, ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the absolute top of the line models with microprocessors, programmed movements and even neural interfaces, to fifty dollar models made with 3-D printers that can be assembled, unskilled, in under three hours