The fields of Prosthetics and Orthotics are constantly changing and the technologies are becoming exponentially more advanced. All around the world new materials and methods are being implemented to create the next level of O&P. Technologies such as 3D printing and Neural mapping are bringing us the braces and limbs of thee future.

Right now, researchers at the The University of Leicester in the United Kingdom are working on a program to connect the brain’s neural network to prosthetic limbs. These amazing prosthetics will be controlled via the electrical signals traveling in the nervous system. You will be able to think about moving your arm or leg and it will just move. The study, Neural Prosthesis: Linking Brain Signals to Prosthetic Devices estimates that we are not far away from this reality.

Conversely, Prosthetics are not only getting more advanced but also much more available.  Google has pledged $20 million to the Google Impact Challenge, which one of it’s non profit arms to help those with disabilities. A major focus of this program is to support the 3D printing of prosthetics.3D4

Orthotics are also benefiting from the advancements in 3D printing. The University of Michigan has paired Altair Engineering to develop a program that will transform the design, comfort, utility, and customization of orthotics. Their program will allow us to pinpoint the critical areas for correction. It will decrease the time of delivery for orthotics and vastly improve their accuracy, which eliminate the need for multiple visits.

These are just a few examples of the growth that O&P is experiencing. There are so many more incredible stories out there.