Students at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), Fredericton, Canada, are creating a golf prosthesis to help people with upper-limb amputations. Such devices exist for people with transradial amputations, but this is intended for people with transhumeral amputations. The project has been in process for five years, with previous groups putting their own touches on the design.
Now, mechanical engineering students Trevor Scott and Lucas Pupek are adding their names to the list of students who have participated in the research, design, and creation of the device, which must recreate the motions of an elbow joint without actually using a hinge.
“You lose degrees of freedom when you lose the elbow,” Scott said. “You’ve got to be able to have that range of motion back, which is what we’re attempting to do with this device.”
Scott and Pupek have been making adjustments to satisfy the client, Bob Radocy, founder of TRS Prosthetics, Boulder, Colorado. Edmund Biden, BScE, DPhil, the professor overseeing its progress, said this could be the final iteration of the device. “Our client, Bob Radocy, wants to make the shape smoother and more organic looking,” Biden said. “We have work to do but I think we’re close.”
“The market for the device is niche, as it’s limited to adult upper-arm amputees who play golf, but for those people it’s very useful,” said Pupek.
The groups working on the device have also been communicating with the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, UNB, which will be testing the device.
Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by the University of New Brunswick.