Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population. Almost one-fifth of the estimated global total of persons are living with disabilities.Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination.When we look at people with physical disabilities, the focus is often on what they can't do, where they can't go, and what they have lost.According to the World Health Organization, disabled people have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.
Since 1992, the United Nations' (UN) International Day of Persons with Disabilities is annually held on December 3.Today aims to showcase the skills, abilities, contributions and achievements of people with disability, promote a positive image of people with disability, today we try to increase the understanding of the issues around disabilities and attention to the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.This year, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs requested the input of its partners and the general public for suggestions on a theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2011.The selected theme for this year is:
“Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”
How science is helping for a better future ? Lending a hand and a leg !!
The human body is an incredible biological machine,with each individual part performing a number of varied tasks.Our hands and feet in particular are vital organs that help us to conduct our daily activities efficiently.Therefore, Losing a limb can have a considerable effect on our lives.In a situation, a prosthetic limb can prove to be an invaluable device it restores some of the capabilities of the lost limb.
Early limb extensions were built of wood or metal and held to the body by leather harness. They were bulky and difficult to use and mostly served cosmetic purpose.In the early part of the 16th century, a French military doctor Ambroise pare, developed the hinged mechanical hand which was a major advance in prosthetic technique.Later, Pieter Verduyn introduced First nonlocking below-knee (BK) prosthesis.This was followed by several other designs including motor-powered ,aluminum prosthesis,prosthetic with a suction socket, polycentric knee, and multi-articulated foot.Many innovations have been made time to time making prostheses easier to use.However the user still had to exert himself in order to use the prosthesis.This drawback was overcome by the induction of embedded technology.
A computer system designed for one or more specific/dedicated functions. the processing elements in typical embedded systems are either micro controllers or digital signal processors(DSP) programmed to carry out a specific function.The myoelectric prosthetic limb is an example of an embedded system -driven prosthesis . It is fitted with electrodes which are attached to the stump of the severed limb.The electrodes detect muscle contractions in the stump and the signals travel to the computer built into the prosthesis. The computer interprets these signals to initiate and control the movements of the artificial limbs.
The dynamic arm was the worlds first microprocessor - controlled adaptive arm. It is developed by American company OTTO BOCK HEALTHCARE . One of the most remarkable features of this artificial limb is that it reads nerve actions in the living arm and translates the signals into computerized movement for the residual arm.
Technically, Prosthetics include artificial heart valves,hearing aids,artificial eyes, gastric bands and dentures.