Control Capabilities of Myoelectric Robotic Prostheses by Hand Amputees: A Scientific Research and Market Overview
Hand amputation can dramatically affect the capabilities of a person. Cortical reorganization occurs in the brain, but the motor and somatosensorial cortex can interact with the remnant muscles of the missing hand even many years after the amputation, leading to the possibility to restore the capabilities of hand amputees through myoelectric prostheses. Myoelectric hand prostheses with many degrees of freedom are commercially available and recent advances in rehabilitation robotics suggest that their natural control can be performed in real life. The first commercial products exploiting pattern recognition to recognize the movements have recently been released, however the most common control systems are still usually unnatural and must be learned through long training. Dexterous and naturally controlled robotic prostheses can become reality in the everyday life of amputees but the path still requires many steps. This mini-review aims to improve the situation by giving an overview of the advancements in the commercial and scientific domains in order to outline the current and future chances in this field and to foster the integration between market and scientific research.