Switches for Prosthetic Control
Switches provide a more basic control option. Switches are available in various styles and sizes, but there are two basic types – they are either an operational switch or a state switch. Operational switches are used for direct control of a prosthetic device. They are available in many styles and shapes; rocker, push, toggle, pull, etc. Operational switches route current through the switch to the motors of a prosthetic device, causing the motor to run in one direction or the other at a fixed speed. Switches do not provide proportional control; they simply turn the motors on or off. Dual action switches (i.e. rocker switches) can control motion in two directions. A dual action switch can be used to operate multiple devices if combined with a state switch. Operational switches are usually incorporated into the harness, but each mounting configuration is slightly different.
State switches are not suitable for the current required to run a motor. Therefore, state switches require a microprocessor-based controller to select states. These switches are generally simple switch closures (open/close) that are detected by the controller. If a Touch Pad is preferred for a state selection input, this will require a microprocessor-based controller to detect the Touch Pad resistance change and switch states/modes. Touch Pads cannot handle the current required to run motors.