Chapter 21 - The Modular Prosthetic Limb
Wearable Robotics: Systems and Applications
Revolutionizing Prosthetics is a government-sponsored program focused on maturing the many foundational technologies that comprise neural prosthetic systems. Targeting the needs of amputees and movement-impaired individuals, the program focused on technological advancements in areas such as advanced neural recording devices, neural decoding and encoding algorithms, and upper limb prosthetic systems. A primary objective of the program was to support technological advancement of wearable prosthetic devices at the upper limb and hand level. The Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) is a representation of the vision for a highly anthropometric prosthetic limb. With 26 articulating joints, 17 actuators, and hundreds of internal sensors for feedback, the vision of the MPL was to replicate the dexterity, speed, and strength of the human hand to an extent never realized in a prosthetic device. Here we describe the MPL’s evolution over the past 13 years and describe the system in entirety, focusing on the fundamental characteristics of the system from hardware to software and controls. Additionally, we briefly touch upon some clinical applications and alternative use cases for the system to date.