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Copying Antler-Structure Means Better Prosthetics 34

tygerstripes writes "The BBC reports that a breakthrough in prosthetic technology will allow titanium to be grafted directly to the bone and then protrude from the skin without risking infection. Research by the Centre for Bio-Medical Engineering, UCL and Stanmore Implants looks into the way that the structure and porosity of deers' antlers prevents infection from entering the break in the skin. Early trials and a fairly gruesome picture show that by mimicking this they can successfully provide amputees with more comfortable, permanent prosthetics. Combined with bionic muscle and other recent developments, we may be very close to fully-integrated prosthetics."
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Copying Antler-Structure Means Better Prosthetics

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  • He said that the technology could be widely used for thumb and forefingers in a few years, and upper and lower limb replacements using this method could be in place in five years.

    And after it gets thru all the proper channels, approval stages, etc in the USA we're talking the year 2050 at the earliest.
    • Or you could just fly to a country that offered the new prosthetic - assuming you can pay. If I had a disabling amputation it would be a no brainer.

      Many people have disability insurance anyhow. Take a lump sum settlement, buy a replacement part and pocket the difference. You do lose some essence in the bargain, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...the titanium is shed after mating-season and has to be reattached.
  • Wolverine (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @03:27PM (#15651814)
    So, when can I get my titanium claws?

    P.S. Figure out how to do this with adamantium for authenticity.

    P.P.S. You may have to create adamntium first.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      So, when can I get my titanium claws?
      I'm quite sure you'll regret that decision later, staring at some porn.
  • Does that mean Obi Wan meant to say, "He's more John Deere now, than man"?
  • Gross (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 )
    ...will allow titanium to be grafted directly to the bone and then protrude from the skin without risking infection.
    Gross! []
    • Re:Gross (Score:2, Insightful)

      by r_a_trip ( 612314 )
      No. Absolutely beautiful! This technology will most probably enable amputees to overcome the stigma of having a prosthetic limb. This technique allows to tightly integrate the artificial body part seemlessly. That certainly is not gross, but a Godsend.
    • Dude, don't knock it. Normally, you wouldn't see the protruding metal stub, which is just an attachment point, but rather the cosmetic (and hopefully functional) prosthetic. Hopefully, by having such a secure attachment point, future prosthetics can do away with the big plastic cup/socket and straps that get used today, which would make them less obtrusive and function more like replacement limbs.

      If you were an amputee, I doubt you'd mind.
      • Normally, you wouldn't see the protruding metal stub, which is just an attachment point, but rather the cosmetic (and hopefully functional) prosthetic.

        The only new technique is the "antler mesh". Dentists have been using this same "post and prosthetic" scheme for about 15 years.

        I had to have a tooth pulled back in the early 1990s (wow, has it been that long?), and they drilled a hole in my jaw, and implanted a small Ti post. When it healed a month later, they shoved on the false tooth.
  • Oh Deer (Score:2, Funny)

    by improfane ( 855034 )
    Deer me.
  • I can't wait for cyborgs to become a voting block, we'll have to have seperate sports leagues so they don't hurt us poor plain "biologics."
  • What the deuce?
    Half man, half machine.
    Why with that technology, I could escape these wretched harridans!
    Go, cyborg!
  • gruesome? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Elminst ( 53259 ) on Monday July 03, 2006 @05:26PM (#15652529) Homepage
    that picture is gruseome?
    Wow, the submitter must have the constitution of a nervous gerbil.

    I think that picture is pretty frickin cool, and want to see more. Anyone have more links to examples of this?
  • The integration of Prosthetics w/o infection is a kinda holy grail of prosthetics, Now we will beable to make dataports that are merged witht he skin with ease. Also the ability to say make a prosthetic hand that uses the existing muscle in the forearm for movement and have it installed full time!!! Most prostetics have to be taken off at night tio give the skin some time to rest due to irritation and whatnot, now they can left on 24/7 and designed to be move like natural human body parts. Merge a litt
  • Great, I hope they get this to work because my doctor says I will probably need knee replacement surgery in about 10 years.

  • The concept that titanium fused with bone was discovered years ago when doctors thought "Hey lets use titanium cause its stronger then other materials and then went to remove it and found that the bone had fused with the titanium at a molecular level. In europe they have been doing this for years now but the FDA is slow to approve new technology and of course there is the problem with infection but what they don't tell you is that the risk of infection with a titanium graft that protrudes from the skin is
  • by doc modulo ( 568776 ) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @09:00AM (#15655741)
    What I'm interested in is if there's already been a third kind of prosthetic movement control system invented.

    My personal categorization of the different kinds of movement of prosthetic limbs:
    1. On/off movement in any direction, like your limb was controlled by the digital joypad of a console.
    2. Variable speed movement in any given direction, like your prosthetic limb was controlled by an analog joystick of a console.
    3. Absolute positioning of your limb, like the new Nintendo Wii controller or a mouse.

    Is there anything like my third category available? Together with this new grafting technology it would mean almost complete recovery for amputees.

    I know that the human body doesn't track it's own limb positions in real-time, even in normal mammals, but human movement is still more like category 3 than the other two.

    Is there something similar out already? I read an article about a guy who's arm prosthesis was directly attached to an arm nerve. Paraphrased: "I could move it as if it was real, I just had to think about moving my arm".

    So any info on category 3 movement controls will be appreciated, interesting stuff.
    • > Absolute positioning of your limb, like the new Nintendo Wii controller or a mouse.

      Do you mean kinesthesia, the sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints? Most people's sense of kinestheia for their limbs is linked with visual feedback, like hand-eye coordination. If you're outdorrs, and asked to point at something, you're getting real-time visual feedback on whether your limb is pointing accurately at what you intended to point at. Same with ballet d
      • Yes, that's what I mean. But the way I understand it, only visual feedback is real-time. The body trains it's muscles so they know that a certain amount of muscle activation for a certain amount of time will place the arm into a certain position. If you take away the visual feedback and you paralyze the arm, the same muscle activation will do nothing for the arm, but the human will still feel/think, kinesthetically, that her arm is in a certain position.

        That's why I said that human limb movement is not exac
        • Sorry, I don't have any knowledge of the field beyond what I've read.

          Regarding kinesthetical feedback, I know that it can be expanded beyond just visual feedback. There's been research on biofeedback training where patients have gained voluntary control over normally involuntary bodily responses using audio cuess from a connected biofeedback machine.

 +acid []

          On a related note, Radio Shack used to see these $20 little blue boxes that squealed at various pitches

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