A University of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, student is working to develop models that will predict the forces expended on joints during use of a prosthetic limb. The research being conducted by Katelynn Craig, a master of science student in the university’s biomedical engineering department, may help prosthesis wearers prevent injuries, and help designers create more lifelike products.
Craig works as a research assistant to mechanical-engineering professor Edmund N. Biden, PhD. In her research, she has attached sensors to a playground swing and a bicycle to measure upper-limb joint loading. Craig told New Brunswick’s Telegraph-Journal that her goal is to determine whether the biomechanical benefits of wearing an upper-limb prosthesis outweigh the problems they cause. Prosthesis wearers, she says, “have to go through all these strange motions,” but without one, upper-limb amputees have a lateral weight imbalance. Her work meshes well with that of Biden, who is studying whether people who are missing an upper limb are at increased risk for developing scoliosis.
The Telegraph-Journal noted that Biden’s research has indicated that some prostheses-ones that have better replication of natural movement-are less likely to cause repetitive-motion injuries than others.
Craig told the Telegraph-Journal that she’d like to make a career out of “exactly what I’m doing now.” Her work is currently sponsored by a research assistantship initiative sponsored by the provincial government and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF).