IDS Cappagh is the fore front of prosthesis and orthopedics in Ireland. In their hospital they bring patients through all the required steps from consulting,analysis fitting and maintenance of various types of prosthesis and orthopedics.
My connection with the hospital first began in 2011 when I visited it as part of research for my leaving cert technology project. I contacted them once again upon confirmation of my project proposal approval in hopes to gain more first hand industry insight.
over the Easter mid-term I had 2 appointments the first being a consultation with one of their foremost upper limb technicians. During this consultation I presented my project idea and discussed how I hope to gain a greater understanding of the prosthetic process as a whole ( from initial consultations, to selection of prosthesis and follow up consultations).
I learned a great deal from my visits, one of the most crucial points being the method by which they find and utilize the signals in the arm.Initially the patient flexes their muscles as the technician feels around the residual limb.In my case the technician examined my forearm (as if I were a trans-radial amputee), this is so as to find what they refer to as the belly of the desired muscle (or the largest/ strongest part) in which the patient will ultimately use to control their prosthesis. After the technician has found a desirable area they begin placing myoelectric electrodes at various points within the area and sampling signals till they find the strongest one. The electrodes used during my consultations were MyoBock Electrodes. Due to my desired operation within my own prosthetic I was fitted with electrodes which measured my protagonist and antagonistic muscles within my forearm. this allowed me to use each individually to open or close a simulated hand or simultaneously ( a code contraction ) to switch the simulation state. I also partook in typical pre-prosthesis training whereby I had to control a simulation hand and then play a game akin to “flappy birds” with sole control of the cursor coming from the signals taken from my forearm.
After the signal analysis was completed I went onto have a cast of my arm taken which I intend to use to manufacture my own casing for my prosthetic. The process was the same of that a patient would go through to have a socket made for their prosthetic