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Category: Academic research under The Amputee Excuse (TAE)

BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL - defect iLimb glove poses tricky Catch-22 for Cybathlon 2020 [review]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL - defect iLimb glove poses tricky Catch-22 for Cybathlon 2020 [review]; published April 21, 2019, 14:42; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9987.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL - defect iLimb glove poses tricky Catch-22 for Cybathlon 2020 [review]}}, month = {April},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9987}}


The Cybathlon 2020 race rules confront us with two interesting Catch-22 aspects:

-hammering (if not other dangerous) activity that is not endorsed by "bionic" hand manufacturers [link]

-use of damaged / perforated covers, not endorsed by Ossur (see here)

The iLimb user / clinician manual clearly states "do not use without an approved cover", "do not use with a damaged cover", and, "damaged covers must be replaced by a qualified Touch Bionics technician or technical partner" 1.

However, the Cybathlon Karlsruhe 2019 footage clearly exhibits a torn and perforated glove (defect over the knuckle of finger II/index finger) being used during the competition during the task that has the competitor push a card into a slot.

From view of a user that had serious issues with these "glove covers" that Touch Bionics (then) / Ossur (now) sold for a premium, and who knows a lot about replacing these with better parts despite manual regulations, this is VERY interesting: because a damaged cover unnegotiably operates far outside the acceptable use condition that appears to be insurable. And insurance seems to be a thing there.

To remind you: Touch Bionics glove covers die by themselves when left alone [link] or when used for something as minor, uninteresting and light as a 10 minute car wash [link]. I was left to myself to identify a work glove [link] and a durable cosmetic glove [link].

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BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL - Hammer use to hammer nails, with "bionic" prosthetic hand, poses tricky Catch-22 for Cybathlon 2020 [review]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL - Hammer use to hammer nails, with "bionic" prosthetic hand, poses tricky Catch-22 for Cybathlon 2020 [review]; published April 20, 2019, 10:28; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9594.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL - Hammer use to hammer nails, with "bionic" prosthetic hand, poses tricky Catch-22 for Cybathlon 2020 [review]}}, month = {April},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9594}}


The Cybathlon 2020 race rules confront us with two interesting Catch-22 aspects:

-hammering (if not other dangerous) activity that is not endorsed by "bionic" hand manufacturers

-use of damaged / perforated covers, not endorsed by Ossur [link]

A hammer, particularly a cheap or small one, even more so than a heavy dangerous "real" hammer, is an unlikely tool to use with an ~80 000 USD myoelectric "bionic" device that is specifically built to sustain only the lightest of work. And the subject of hammering, technically, as arm amputee with a prosthetic arm, has become relevant since the Cybathlon 2020 directors [link] have taken it upon themselves to make it a "discipline".

STOP - HAMMER TIME?

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Was ist mit Cybathlon@SCHOOL moeglicherweise problematisch?

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Was ist mit Cybathlon@SCHOOL moeglicherweise problematisch?; published March 2, 2019, 11:39; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9404.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Was ist mit Cybathlon@SCHOOL moeglicherweise problematisch?}}, month = {March},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9404}}


Cybathlon@SCHOOL ist ein Programm, das Behinderte, Armamputierte auch, als "Material" bezeichnet und anpreist.

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User perspective on the rubber hand illusion in a wider sense – prosthetic arm and ownership for real use [reflection and consideration]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - User perspective on the rubber hand illusion in a wider sense – prosthetic arm and ownership for real use [reflection and consideration]; published January 2, 2019, 22:16; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8882.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - User perspective on the rubber hand illusion in a wider sense – prosthetic arm and ownership for real use [reflection and consideration]}}, month = {January},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8882}}


The year 2018 was interesting in relation to the rubber hand illusion subject.

I had participated in an extensive interview study regarding embodiment just a year before [link]. Then, I had been identified as a prosthesis "super user" [link] - these people wanted to investigate my type of "embodiment" through fMRI, but we quickly identified my prosthetic arm design (not my brain) as the key aspect regarding the question of why I have a prosthesis that I can actually use rather than just pose with as so many others. My own view here clearly is that if you are after embodiment, you have to go all Sherlock Holmes, you have to go all forensic, all CSI and all crime mystery: and as in "cherchez la femme" when looking for a motive in a crime, it is "cherchez le bras" when studying embodiment: for all issues that center around prosthetic use, go for the core physical aspects first. There are extremely bad things that may, can, and will happen if you do not make that your real first priority. The "rubber hand illusion" is an extreme variation of body ownership of a rubber hand that does not even touch a person and still that person thinks they are being touched if that rubber hand is touched. The illusion to make an amputee believe they embody or bodily own a prosthetic hand is quite different. But both pose risks, whereas the risk that an amputee faces when getting a prosthetic arm that is integrated into his body image has not been considered yet. My slightly experience based consideration proposes that the body image is tyrannically governed, for good and for bad, and if the prosthetic body part - already starting with bad cards, body image wise - craps out, and it always does so far too often, then it draws the hot red angry ire, the depressed disappointment, the falling apart of the cyborg body, of the amputee - and definitely not the cool "oh a neutral object just disintegrated" that one will wish for from a societal, insurance or repair view. The integration into a body image brings with it that the device becomes subject to totally tyranically governed bodies. When it is difficult enough to make any device ready for real world usage, making it ready to survive tyrannies of that nature will be even harder. I proposed an unforgiving approach to failure testing in a recent paper (link) but I cannot say that paper has been greeted with any enthusiasm by the industry that actually builds prosthetic arm components. Because they get to directly face the anger, hate, and rejection of all the users that they had not informed well of just how fragile their prosthetic arm parts really are (link), and they are in absolutely no position to technically improve these parts. So, manufacturers go into hiding. They do not want many users - they want users that buy and do not complain. The last thing they need is a hard bright unforgiving look into just how bad their engineering is. Every non-user, every rejector, should be cautiously left alone, not recruited to wear a prosthesis - because the risk is considerable (link). Researchers currently have the problem that amputees run away, everywhere (link), also because we are continously treated as mentally incompetent. So in essence, we are a group of people that increasingly realizes the extent to which we are being fooled, being had, told stories, and increasingly, we are getting critical. Potential rubber hand illusion switches, dragged to market to be soldered into prosthetic arms, if ever they are a medical treatment or a part thereof, will have negative effects as well: what are these? What do we know about deeply problematic aspects of bodily ownership? I had been invited to talk about that aspect for a group of people interested in robotic control and user interfaces, on December 7th 2018, in Mannheim (Germany). The presentation that I gave now is typed out here in more detail for further reference.

Rubber hand illusion is an idea that, by and large, was somehow transformed into multi-sensory rubber hand illusion, and they now want to put it into prosthetic arms to make users believe the prosthesis belongs to their bodies.

With that, rubber hand illusion goes to market1)As in: piggy goes to market..

This is not really that fascinating. While I am not interested in prosthetic arms because I find the field fascinating, I have been drawn into the field due to circumstances. And as much as you feel that I am locked into this constraint space of shared idiocies, dreams, hopes and failing hardware together with you, in some type of brotherhood by bad fate, you may also realize you are locked into this with me, as consequence of bad fate. Those then are also circumstances. As I deal with it, you may also have to find a way. If you think that is uncomfortable, send me a mail, so we may talk about uncomfortable a bit.

The ultimate consquence of this piece of reflection is not at all bad, however. We will see just how too much "ownership" has bad aspects as well. It risks to slip prosthetic hands into a domain where it is subject to the most vicious decision making that there is: tyrannic and wilful, impulsive and emotional decision making within one's own very personal domain of body or body image with owned body part dependent urgencies and requirements. To withstand these storms, a  prosthetic arm has to withstand not only the physical requirements of real life use (which it normally does not to a degree that will make your jaw drop), it also has to be acknowledged in that capacity by manufacturers and care-givers, emergency teams or repair units, where none of similarly urgencies are currently provided.

To even reach a level of "tool", to be useful enough to be accepted as technical solution (not as embodied "owned" limb), a typical prosthetic arm may have to undergo a most serious metamorphosis, from commercial parts (link)(link) to tuned and optimized parts (link). If you are in R&D and want to do something good in support of arm amputees, it may be relevant to address actual issues such as failing devices or phantom pain (link), before going all out on a limb and drag ill-defined concepts to a domain where they may wreck more than they really help.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. As in: piggy goes to market.

Disability and the public - prosthetic arms and more: do we appear "competent"? (review)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Disability and the public - prosthetic arms and more: do we appear "competent"? (review); published December 7, 2018, 15:50; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8812.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Disability and the public - prosthetic arms and more: do we appear "competent"? (review)}}, month = {December},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8812}}


The current view of us, what the general public thinks of us, seems to be a major aspect. Of "us", yes.

The research question for this armchair analyst thus will be: are we - arm amputees in specific, and, as people with a visible physical handicap more generally, more broadly as disabled people generally, seen as competent people?

Generally, the answer seems to be a clear "NO" right from the outset.

This should not come as a shock. There are good reasons to believe that, great reasons to make that plausible, perfect reasons to justify that statement. With that, there may be exceptions to that -  people that see through society's fairytales of disability, horror and fears, but they are usually the exception.

As I had figured out quite early into my enquiries into that issue, that this aspect is of absolutely no further practical concern not because it is not disconcerting - but because I cannot change it. And that is a rapid, lean and cynical logical consequence, that I stopped caring about what other people think of me based on, say, visual impression of my prosthetic arm. I may thus safely focus on function and comfort, sustainability and cost, without worrying too much about whether other people treat me as more or less competent based on my looks. Not because it would not be cool to take influence but because it is of no matter as to the target dimension: the tendendy to disregard any mental capacity of people with physical handicap appears to be implemented in many people's thinking outside of any actual experiences. And regardless of what type of prosthesis I wear.

If anything, I might optimize my appearance by simply trying to look reasonably neat.

But to bend over backwards for what really we have to concede are actually strange people? If anything, can we hack their brains?

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Sensory robot hand feedback: not so necessary for amputees but definitely necessary for tele-operators [why sensory feedback is military research and not rehabilitation research]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Sensory robot hand feedback: not so necessary for amputees but definitely necessary for tele-operators [why sensory feedback is military research and not rehabilitation research]; published October 28, 2018, 19:21; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8751.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Sensory robot hand feedback: not so necessary for amputees but definitely necessary for tele-operators [why sensory feedback is military research and not rehabilitation research]}}, month = {October},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8751}}


Why is so much effort going into sensory feedback type military research and not rehabilitation research?

  • Myoelectric control is inherently and unfixably unreliable anyway in daily use by amputees - but possibly not so much of an issue when used by an anatomically intact individual in an army robot control room.
  • Myoelectric grippers are caught between sufficiently light (and far too weak) and sufficiently strong (but too heavy) without way out, from view of a prosthetic arm wearing community.
  • They are a niche product even in terms of actually sustainable prosthetic fitting, from view of applied usage.

Logically, all the research effort that significantly helps military applications, but does not significantly help a real prosthetic arm, clearly marches into one direction only: army development, military research.

And because no one looks and no one cares, research money for rehabilitation of amputees can easily be siphoned off for military applications.

The background for asking these questions is that there must be very distinct reasons why in 2018, a body powered hook is still the only prosthetic type that can be reliably used in strenuous physical applications.

And now, we are starting to get interested in the sociological reasons why that is.

A recently discovered surprisingly high degree of cynicism towards disabled people and particularly those with an amputation by those that claim to technically improve rehabilitation very clearly points towards a non-rehabilitative sociological setting, whereas cynicism in army circles is to be expected [1].

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[1] L. Braithwaite and S. R. Sonnad, "Cynicism amongst military police personnel in Western Europe," Justice Quarterly, vol. 1, iss. 3, pp. 413-436, 1984.
[Bibtex]
@article{braithwaite1984cynicism,
  title={Cynicism amongst military police personnel in Western Europe},
  author={Braithwaite, Lloyd and Sonnad, Subhash R},
  journal={Justice Quarterly},
  volume={1},
  number={3},
  pages={413--436},
  year={1984},
  publisher={Taylor \& Francis}
}

BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL: Pitch black cynicism in the Cybathlon 2020: "the role of a disabled person" [not funny]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL: Pitch black cynicism in the Cybathlon 2020: "the role of a disabled person" [not funny]; published October 25, 2018, 23:02; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8680.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL: Pitch black cynicism in the Cybathlon 2020: "the role of a disabled person" [not funny]}}, month = {October},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8680}}


"With that, visitors of the Cybathlon Experience (TM) can test the role of a disabled person" (können in die Rolle einer behinderten Person schlüpfen) (Oral presentation: "CYBATHLON – bewegt Mensch und Technik", 5.15pm–6.00pm, Dr. Roland Sigrist, Cybathlon, ETH Zurich, Raum E 1.2) -- I was there, one among the 8 people that made the audience of this "sold out" Cybathlon talk; amputees are there for "entertainment" (clearly one of the requirements written on a slide in the presentation) (ist es das, was wir als behinderte Personen spielen? eine Rolle, ja?).

After defining a remarkably strange prosthetic arm race, the makers of the Cybathlon 2020 now start to openly bathe us in their pitch-black cynicism.

Why? Pressing question.

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Embodiment of a prosthetic arm [reflections, thoughts, considerations]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Embodiment of a prosthetic arm [reflections, thoughts, considerations]; published September 16, 2018, 15:42; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8513.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Embodiment of a prosthetic arm [reflections, thoughts, considerations]}}, month = {September},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8513}}


So, apparently I had been "identified" as a "super prosthesis user" by a group of researchers. And I was invited to talk about embodiment in context of the "rubber hand illusion" at a user interface or robotic control workshop [link].

So is that what I am: a "user"?

Tsk.

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Understanding and informing design issues of a prosthetic arm for below elbow amputation by way of "taxonomy" [literature review, reality check]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Understanding and informing design issues of a prosthetic arm for below elbow amputation by way of "taxonomy" [literature review, reality check]; published July 26, 2018, 21:18; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7651.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Understanding and informing design issues of a prosthetic arm for below elbow amputation by way of "taxonomy" [literature review, reality check]}}, month = {July},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7651}}


The academic and industrial attempts to approach prosthetic arms so far have been met with less success than the providers must have hoped for. Far less, in fact so little that we wonder what is going on.

Possibly, design issues are the key to this as however vaguely put, some analytic approach needs to inform better design - but how to really inform better design from issues based on analysis? What is a suitable analysis? If we cannot see any better designs anywhere in practice, real life, then what is the analysis worth? Can we analyze analyses to get a better understanding of what might be going on there?

We might best start with what we know to be true.

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Kommentar zu "Siri hat immer Lust - Gehört die Zukunft den Cyborgs und intelligenten Maschinen?" (UZH Magazin 2/18)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Kommentar zu "Siri hat immer Lust - Gehört die Zukunft den Cyborgs und intelligenten Maschinen?" (UZH Magazin 2/18); published June 20, 2018, 19:37; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9539.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Kommentar zu "Siri hat immer Lust - Gehört die Zukunft den Cyborgs und intelligenten Maschinen?" (UZH Magazin 2/18)}}, month = {June},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9539}}


Disability as spectacle? [tracing everyday experiences to follow this proposed aspect]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Disability as spectacle? [tracing everyday experiences to follow this proposed aspect]; published June 14, 2016, 19:37; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6165.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Disability as spectacle? [tracing everyday experiences to follow this proposed aspect]}}, month = {June},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6165}}


An upcoming conference seems to hit more precisely than any other contemporary "spectacle" - from body "hacking" (featuring people that quite simply wear stock item devices) over "workshops" where participants are filmed or photographed (but do not get systematic solutions to all aspects that are shown) to "bionic" limb featurettes - the subject at the very core of the current preoccupation of society with disability is not help or support but focus. Support may only be part of making things appear right.

Actual, true, and dedicated improvement or help is not rendered. It is at best shown as sugar coating, thrown in as minimal excuse, offered as pretense, but not made a didactic or technical focus. We now need to delineate real work, real support from sugar coated symbolism that has different goals and purposes.

What is *featured* here - in that conference - is the "spectacle" aspect. What is featured in some odd "bionic" arm workshop is exactly that: they call it "help" - but they invite television to show how good they are and the focus is not on actual function but on "how it looks and appears to the public". They call it "support", but its main feature is a live stream of discussions on media channels all the while the hook remains the best prosthetic ever.

disabilityasspectacle

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Prosthetic options and Yenga - intricate grip differentiation details [up close grip mechanics]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Prosthetic options and Yenga - intricate grip differentiation details [up close grip mechanics]; published June 14, 2016, 19:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6144.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Prosthetic options and Yenga - intricate grip differentiation details [up close grip mechanics]}}, month = {June},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6144}}


Playing Yenga at a prosthetic arm workshop was interesting.

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Constraints in prosthetic arm research (literature review)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Constraints in prosthetic arm research (literature review); published June 1, 2016, 12:11; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6068.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569144680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Constraints in prosthetic arm research (literature review)}}, month = {June},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6068}}


A recent literature review  [1] lists apparent priorities and requirements for prosthetic arms. It mentions the fact that a prior literature review, dated 20 years earlier, already contained some of these requirements.

The necessary conclusions however are not presented; they really boil down to two reasons why that could be:

  • it should be evaluated whether the reasons given 20 years ago and again now just present excuses and not actual requirements;
  • it should be evaluated exactly who focused on practically resolving these issues through research or components, and why, possibly, they failed.
  • it should be evaluated inasmuch academic research now follows its own self-made "requirements" that, really, have absolutely no relevance in everyday life

Let us look at the research assumptions and these apparent requirements, point by point.

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[1] [doi] F. Cordella, A. L. Ciancio, R. Sacchetti, A. Davalli, A. Cutti, E. Guglielmelli, and L. Zollo, "Literature review on needs of upper limb prosthesis users," Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 10, iss. 209, 2016.
[Bibtex]
@ARTICLE{cordella2016review,  
 AUTHOR={Cordella, Francesca  and  Ciancio, Anna Lisa  and  Sacchetti, Rinaldo  and  Davalli, Angelo  and  Cutti, Andrea  and  Guglielmelli, Eugenio  and  Zollo, Loredana},   
TITLE={Literature review on needs of upper limb prosthesis users},      
JOURNAL={Frontiers in Neuroscience},      
VOLUME={10},      
YEAR={2016},        
NUMBER={209},         
URL={http://www.frontiersin.org/neuroprosthetics/10.3389/fnins.2016.00209/abstract},       
DOI={10.3389/fnins.2016.00209}
}
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