Survey and Survey Rationale

Survey

The survey is meant for technical experts who make prosthetic arms with sensory feedback.

Here is our survey: Prosthetic Arm Survey

Survey Rationale

When developing the survey, we decided that we specifically wanted to receive feedback from technical experts, who are involved in developing prosthetic arms. We compiled questions that we found most interesting and would want to gather information from multiple sources. Majority of the survey was prepared using our own research and some additions were made after conducting the interviews.

While conducting our research and interviews, we found that experts had different opinions on what aspect of the arm was most important for development and what the future of prosthetics will look like. A question that we initially wanted to ask was regarding what happens once prosthetic arm are more efficient than human hands. However, the two technical experts informed us that no one working on prosthetics is even thinking about that matter because currently it is not even in the realm of possibility. Right now even the most advanced prosthetics can not match the functionality of a human hand. At most they restore or give the amputee around fifty percent of the function.

Another area that the survey also focuses on is the affordability. For now these arms cost somewhere around $100,000. One of the technical experts we interviewed was extremely optimistic about the future of prosthetics. He believed that in around ten years the cost of a prosthetic arm with sensory feedback could be reduced to around $10,000. The reason he gave was initially all technology is very expensive and eventually the price is reduced drastically. He said that fifteen years ago, a 30-inch plasma television cost $30,000 but now due to demand, a forty-six inch one only costs around $900. However, televisions are an item that everyone can use. Prosthetics will have a more niche market and there will not be as much demand for them as televisions. Thus, we wanted to gather more information from other experts regarding the cost. Our questions focus on whether they believe prosthetics will ever be feasible, how many years before they are affordable and what part of the arm needs to be developed more to reduce costs.

Therefore, our survey takes a futurist approach in the manner by which we gather information from the current leaders in the field. Not only do we try to gain a better sense of what the complete arms will look like down the road, we also target specific parts and functionalities that warrant special attention. Finding out which aspects each expert sees as the most important/likely to evolve in the near term, along with their rationalization, paints a clearer picture of where the technology will be months, years, and decades from now.

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