The Bionic Human: A Review of Interface Modalities for Externally Powered Prosthetic Limbs
The cover image illustrates peak weather regime intensities over the easter Northern Pacific.


Prosthetic limbs
Powered prostheses
Machine-body interface

How to Cite

Mundkur, N. (2019). The Bionic Human: A Review of Interface Modalities for Externally Powered Prosthetic Limbs. McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal, 14(1), 46–49.


Background: The loss of a limb is a debilitating incident and can leave patients significantly disabled and often unable to perform activities of daily living. Prosthetic limbs can provide some modicum of normalcy back to their lives, and there has been much research over the past few decades into restoration of biomedical and physiological function with the use of externally powered and robotic prostheses. This review aims to explore the various approaches to machine-body interfacing that can be employed to achieve intuitive and meaningful control of these complex devices, and to discuss the individual benefits and drawbacks of each method.

Methods: Studies looked at include both primary and secondary sources of research. Identification was via a PubMed search for the terms “prosthetic limb”, “powered prostheses”, “myoelectric prostheses”, “neural interface”, “prosthetic somatosensory feedback”, and “brain-machine interface”, which resulted in a total of 3892 papers retrieved. Of these, 28 were retained as sources for this review. Selection was based on relevance to control of powered prostheses.

Summary: Significant strides have been made in expanding the choice of interface sites for bionic prosthesis control. Muscles, nerves, and the brain are all options, each with varying degrees of invasiveness and corresponding resolution of information obtained, and non-muscle interfacing prostheses may soon be commercially available. These advances have allowed for increasingly precise control of prosthetic limbs. However, this is limited by the challenge of returning sensory information from the prosthesis back to the user.

© The Authors

All rights reserved


Download data is not yet available.