A Review of Current Upper-Limb Prostheses for Resource Constrained Settings

Brienna Phillips, Gabrielle Zingalis, Sarah Ritter, and Khanjan Mehta

IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

Phillips, B., Zingalis, G, Ritter, S., Mehta, K., “A Review of Current Upper-Limb Prostheses for Resource Constrained Settings,” IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Seattle, WA, Oct 2015


In lower-middle income countries (LMICs), untapped land mines, war, and diseases such as diabetes and polio have left many residents in need of a prosthetic device. For many whose primary source of income is derived from manual labor, lack of an appropriate prosthetic device often results in decreased productivity and lower quality of life. Across the world, the primary purpose of prostheses is to restore functional capacity in a manner that is both natural and aesthetically pleasing to the user. Some practices from the Western world, such as manufacturing methods, are transferrable to these contexts. However, the availability of materials, resources, and skilled personnel pose particular challenges for LMICs. In general, prostheses designed for LMICs exhibit simplified designs, as well as limited materials and electronic components. This article reviews current upper-limb prosthetic devices developed specifically for resource-constrained environments. An overview of the materials and design for each device as well as a discussion of their limitations are provided.


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