The ToMPAW modular prosthesis - a platform for research in upper limb prosthetics

Kyberd, Peter J.; Poulton, Adrian S.; Sandsjo, Leif; Jonsson, Stewe; Jones, Ben and Gow, David (2007). The ToMPAW modular prosthesis - a platform for research in upper limb prosthetics. Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics, 19(1) pp. 15–21.




Current designs of commercial arm prostheses do not support a modular approach. This means that an arm customised to the user needs becomes an assembly of disparate devices. The ToMPAW consortium was created to build on each participants earlier experiences from limb fitting, orthopaedic, technological engineering and from precision manufacture techniques in order to create a whole arm system from fingers to shoulder joint that was fully modular, both mechanically and electronically. A modular control system has been implemented which serves as a platform for research in upper limb prosthetics. The modular approach enables each prosthesis to be easily modified, programmed or extended according to each individual’s needs thus making it possible to try out different control schemes and mechanical realizations building on a small set of modules. Four experimental hands and two arm systems have had limited clinical use at two centres in the UK and Sweden, in addition advanced arm control could be easily implemented with few changes to the system. A modular approach has the potential to cut limb fitting costs by reducing the time needed for fitting and maintenance and the number of articles to be held in stock, either by the supplier or at the limb centre.

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