The prostheses used by the majority of persons with hand/arm amputations today have a very limited range of motion. Transradial (below the elbow) amputees lose the three degrees of freedom provided by the wrist and forearm. Some myoeletric prostheses currently allow for forearm pronation and supination (rotation about an axis parallel to the forearm) and the operation of a powered prosthetic hand. Older body-powered prostheses, incorporating hooks and other cable driven terminal devices, have even fewer degrees of freedom. In order to perform activities of daily living (ADL), a person with amputation(s) must use a greater than normal range of movement from other body joints to compensate for the loss of movement caused by the amputation. By studying the compensatory motion of prosthetic users we can understand the mechanics of how they adapt to the loss of range of motion in a given limb for select tasks. The purpose of this study is to create a biomechanical model that can predict the compensatory motion using given subject data. The simulation can then be used to select the best prosthesis for a given user, or to design prostheses that are more effective at selected tasks, once enough data has been analyzed. Joint locations necessary to accomplish the task with a given configuration are calculated by the simulation for a set of prostheses and tasks. The simulation contains a set of prosthetic configurations that are represented by parameters that consist of the degrees of freedom provided by the selected prosthesis. The simulation also contains a set of task information that includes joint constraints, and trajectories which the hand or prosthesis follows to perform the task. The simulation allows for movement in the wrist and forearm, which is dependent on the prosthetic configuration, elbow flexion, three degrees of rotation at the shoulder joint, movement of the shoulder joint about the sternoclavicular joint, and translation and rotation of the torso. All joints have definable restrictions determined by the prosthesis, and task.

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