Bionics stands for Biologically Inspired Engineering. It is a mixture of biology and nature with engineering and modern technology. The term was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958 and was popularized in the 1970’s in United States. Bionics often gives importance on carrying out a function available in nature rather than imitation biological structures. The term Bionics is given a specific definition in the medical field; it stands for the process of replacing or enhancing the organs or missing body parts by mechanical versions.
This technology allows prosthetic arms to be built and customized according to an individual’s requirements and design preferences. It can also be customized according to the shape of the user. This technology is still in its infancy stage, getting developed gradually. One of the first successful bionic devices was known as the cochlear implant also called the bionic ear. Invented in Australia this device was developed for deaf people.
There are many organizations and researchers currently working on this technology. One such organization is OYMotion Technologies from China. Their interest lies in providing rehabilitation medical technology. This company was able to successfully develop a robotic arm equipped with bio sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Their robotic arm, which is named OHand, is a smart prosthetic hand. This prosthetic hand is powered by five small activators which allow each finger to flex separately.
Another China based company Fourier Intelligence makes exoskeleton robots which make it possible for those who suffer from spinal injuries to stand again. The company is currently working in collaboration with Ruijin Hospital to apply advanced robotic technology to rehabilitation devices.
Yang Zhihao, a manager at Fourier Intelligence told Shanghai Daily that, “The process is a chain of research and development, clinical application and production. Our company is responsible for development and production. Some research institutes like University of Melbourne & Fourier Intelligence Robotics Lab assist us in research, and hospitals like Ruijin apply that to clinical treatment.”
Apart from making exoskeletons to help people suffering from spinal injuries, the company is also in the process of developing robotics for upper limbs, ankles, wrists, hands and other body parts.
This technology has been seen as a blessing amongst the differently abeled community. It allows them to feel empowered and makes them more independent and not only that; it also reduces the stigma attached with disability of any nature. This has turned out to be a game changer for amputees by providing them with a better control over their surroundings.
There have been some ground breaking discoveries done in this field so far. Bionic implants are required to function smoothly and successfully even under moist conditions of the human body. University of Sydney has now put forward new standards to measure moisture leaks for devices such as cochlear hearing implants and retinal replacements. They believe that these modified standards which measure the moisture will be able to provide the users of these implants with extra confidence and trust in the functions of these bionic devices.
As this field is constantly undergoing newer and more advanced updates with every passing day, this will also result in an increase in the number of users of this technology. Keeping all these factors in mind it is absolutely necessary to provide the users with extra sense of safety and assurance.