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Affordable, robotic prostheses in the NHS

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    The provision of an affordable, 3D-printed robotic upper limb prostheses for children and young people in an NHS setting: a pilot study.



  • Contact name

    James Bilzon

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University of Bath

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 3 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    At present the majority of patients with upper limb deficiency are either provided a passive prosthesis (cosmetic only), or a body-powered, single grip device in an NHS setting. This limited choice reflects cost-effectiveness and durability of these devices. However, almost half of all upper limb amputees abandon their prostheses, attributed primarily to a lack of functional gain. With recent advances in robotics, the production of multi-grip, myoelectric prostheses has become a reality. However, with the cost of these devices between £25, 000 - £80, 000, they are rendered inaccessible for the majority of patients.
    The present research looks to address this barrier. A trial will be conducted to establish the ability to provide affordable, multi-grip, robotic prostheses to individuals with upper limb deficiencies in an NHS setting. Patients will be recruited into a 1-month and 1 week study through the Bristol Centre for Enablement, North Bristol NHS Trust.
    Participants will have a custom-made socket and robotic prosthesis. The fitting will be conducted by a specialist clinician at the Bristol Centre for Enablement. The trial will involve both quantitative and qualitative measures, a series of questionnaires and functional tasks at the start and end of the 1-month period. The measures will be conducted be a trained researcher from the University of Bath. Throughout the trial, the participants and their guardian will be encouraged to complete a daily log of experiences (positive and negative) associated with the use of the prosthetic. Each participant is free to leave the trial at any point, with no minimum usage of the device, nor future implications for treatment entailed. Two contact personnel will be available to provide participants with adverse events and operational support. Open Bionics will provide full technical support throughout the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, all participants keep their prosthetic.

  • REC name

    West Midlands - South Birmingham Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    12 May 2017

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion

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