Our trainees review webinars in their given fields and share abstracts to help colleagues outside their discipline make an informed choice about watching them. As our program bridges diverse disciplines, these abstracts are beneficial for our own group in helping one another gain key knowledge in each other’s fields. We are happy to share these here for anyone else who may find them helpful.
PSYONIC – Advances in Commercial Sensorimotor Bionic Limbs
Part of Georgia Tech’s 2021-2022 Neuro Seminar Series
Aadeel Akhtar, Ph.D. CEO, Founder, PSYONIC
March 28, 2022
In this talk, Dr. Akhtar does a really nice job of illustrating the economic limitations associated with prosthetics and the evolution of prosthetic design. Going from simple “hook” designed only capable to a pinch motion to more complex but expensive robotic systems that allow for a range of more complex motion. As such, the innovation in PSYONIC’s design is that their prosthetic is the synthesis of all desired features, robustness, speed, lightweight and sensory feedback, all while being affordable and accessible to larger percentage of patients. More specifically, in the US, the advanced robotic limb is covered under Medicare transitioning the accessibility from 10% to 75% of patients.
Dr. Akhtar’s presentation is told as a chronological story of the conception of PSYONICS to the eventual design of the “The Ability Hand.” Not only are the design principles associated with the prosthetic iterations discussed, but Dr. Akhtar does an elegant job of tying in the user experience into the motivations of each subsequent design. One of the interesting and early challenges was to maintain the ability to 3D print the hand but also provide robustness. Motivations and advancements in the field of soft robotics were leveraged to allow the hand to be compliant with the physical world through flexibility and properly designed joints. Following a mechanical and material description of the Ability Hand, Dr. Akhtar describes how they were able to implement sensory feedback into the final design.
Overall, I think the presentation is a great illustration of the synthesis of several scientific fields along with business principles that allows for the successful production of an impactful healthcare product. Furthermore, it highlights the ability for the prosthetics to make what would seem like trivial daily tasks a reality to amputees.