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Category: Brands

BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL challenge #1 - private parts [vision; Swiss Prosthetics brand promise]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL challenge #1 - private parts [vision; Swiss Prosthetics brand promise]; published November 13, 2019, 22:31; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=10389.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL challenge #1 - private parts [vision; Swiss Prosthetics brand promise]}}, month = {November},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=10389}}


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After all, true engineers are usually after true business opportunities. Not invented ideas, assumed ideas, hoped for fantasies or dreamed up ideas but actual gold producing ideas.

"Handfeste Ideen", in German.

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TRS Jaws [new product - first use report]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - TRS Jaws [new product - first use report]; published August 10, 2019, 10:51; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9769.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - TRS Jaws [new product - first use report]}}, month = {August},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9769}}


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The TRS Jaws is a voluntary opening gripper where you can set the grip strength by a lever. The grip then varies between very light, maybe under 1 kg or so, to somewhere above 5 kg. This is a first real use report, after I used it permanently since roughly around May 21, 2019, give or take a few hours.

There are just a few points to address at this stage. If you wear a body powered arm for real work [link], you may now buy one.

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Adapting mountain bike (CUBE ACID 29", 2019) for left handed use [photos]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Adapting mountain bike (CUBE ACID 29", 2019) for left handed use [photos]; published August 10, 2019, 10:17; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9900.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Adapting mountain bike (CUBE ACID 29", 2019) for left handed use [photos]}}, month = {August},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9900}}


"Last year, South Africa's Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), a three-time UCI World Champion, won a record extending 20th Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland. What made these wins unique was that they were the first World Cup events to be won on a bike with 29" wheels. (..) So does this mean the debate is over, and 29" wheels have replaced 27.5" ones? Not so fast!"-- Thinking about wheels? Michal Cerveny [UCI news]

As my trusted old Cube bike died due to age (profuse hydraulic leaks, spare parts > 1 month away, while on bike holidays) it was clear I had to replace it. So I bought the useful (but not overly expensive) CUBE ACID, with 29" wheels, model year 2019, for something over 900 Euros. The dealer gave me a lower price than the indicated / recommended one.

More history is here [link] with my coolest bike mod so far being the Colnago road bike with switched Ultegra levers [link].

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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_1574228261, 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_1574228261, 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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Becker Hand - best grip in town [mechanism visualization]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Becker Hand - best grip in town [mechanism visualization]; published April 19, 2019, 11:57; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9609.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Becker Hand - best grip in town [mechanism visualization]}}, month = {April},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9609}}


Visualisation of the mechanism or inner workings of one of the fastest "bionic" (i.e. it has an adaptive grip) prosthetic hands has so far been relatively elusive.

The mechanism is one of the most extremely evolved in prosthetic hand device history - the manufacturer overlooks around 70 years of continuous product evolution. As many large manufacturers today do not "listen" and are not open for suggestion or critical evaluation, they are not making most of their shorter time of product evolution, further crippling their already short market exposure. This explains why the Becker hand is one astonishing perfect product - highly functional, attractive, very robust and very affordable.

Now, we worked out how to plastically show the inner workings or mechanism of a Becker Imperial hand.

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Soldering cable connection and heat shrinking tube over connection (Extreme Cyborging Microworks)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Soldering cable connection and heat shrinking tube over connection (Extreme Cyborging Microworks); published April 4, 2019, 06:59; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9463.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Soldering cable connection and heat shrinking tube over connection (Extreme Cyborging Microworks)}}, month = {April},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9463}}


A full understanding what amputees do or do not in their real life has so far escaped the acumen of research and development. This explains how > 85% of us still run free, without the real restriction of having to pay massive money for technology that basically makes life more difficult.

A notable exception is my body powered split hook. As we can show how academics comprehensively fail to grasp (haha) the scope and use of prosthetic arm use, even a modest achievement such as this appears quite noteworthy and definitely reportable. After all, absolutely no (0) achievement was delivered by any R&D in the domain of myoelectric arms to this day that has made it to actual everyday use and hard work delivery, both since Cybathlon 2016 (that promised it would "push" development) and generally since >40 years of "research" into myoelectric arm control. As they all have more than a lot to learn (not advancing problematically high error rates in >40 years is a catastrophe or wouldn't you say), we are called upon to focus on the basic.

Today, how to attach the cable of a power supply to a pump.

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CE marking or norm in relation to components for prosthetic arms

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - CE marking or norm in relation to components for prosthetic arms; published December 25, 2018, 15:20; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7749.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - CE marking or norm in relation to components for prosthetic arms}}, month = {December},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7749}}


CE-marking or norm

The CE-marking establishes that a particular item or product conform to European product law in relation to health, safety, and environmental protection standards [link].

As this text is not public or may be hard to get into the public eye, why not just go ahead and drag it out. I started to be interested by the backgrounds of what our prosthetic limbs and their technical documentation ideally could be already a few years ago [link].  So, a few blog posts here do have a long history, longer than others, and were assembled over quite a period of time.

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How does a Helping Hand / LN 4 hand work [test report]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - How does a Helping Hand / LN 4 hand work [test report]; published December 17, 2018, 05:44; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9027.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - How does a Helping Hand / LN 4 hand work [test report]}}, month = {December},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9027}}


I organized myself the opportunity to test a "Helping Hand" (also known as LN 4 hand) myself.

You know, the one that are being built as a feel-good exercise by business people and others, and that are given away to people that seem in need. It has its own website [link]. The Ellen Meadows Foundation specifically empowers not amputees, but non-disabled people. Verbally, they claim in their mission statement: "Inspire change in the world by empowering individuals to use their hands to support putting hands on people in need. We will not stop until anyone who needs a prosthetic hand has access to one". About the hand, they write: "Originally Ernie intended to design a functional prosthetic hand for children and adolescent land mine victims. Over time he developed a design for a low-cost, light, durable, functional prosthetic hand. He knew that this would help all who need a prosthetic hand and who could not afford the available alternatives".

That means:

  • They empower non-disabled people that have hands to use their hands. That is noble, I guess.
  • They will not stop until anyone that needs a prosthetic hand has access to one. The definition of a prosthetic hand is wide open, I guess,  but they precisely state their hand is functional and durable. That? We will see about that.

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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_1574228261, 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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Open Bionics Hero Arm [considerations from another angle]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Open Bionics Hero Arm [considerations from another angle]; published October 27, 2018, 13:05; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8726.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Open Bionics Hero Arm [considerations from another angle]}}, month = {October},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8726}}


I did get a request to provide an extensive opinion about the Open Bionics Hero Arm.

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3D-print molded Protosil RTV 245 (durometer shore 40A) silicone covers for Toughware Equilux [proof of concept, demo of "bionic" grip]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - 3D-print molded Protosil RTV 245 (durometer shore 40A) silicone covers for Toughware Equilux [proof of concept, demo of "bionic" grip]; published February 4, 2018, 11:50; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8248.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - 3D-print molded Protosil RTV 245 (durometer shore 40A) silicone covers for Toughware Equilux [proof of concept, demo of "bionic" grip]}}, month = {February},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8248}}


It is sometimes more fun to present the technical results before or even instead of explaining exactly why.  So in short, I 3d-designed and then printed molds to make grip covers for really serious grip performance of a Toughware Equilux device.

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Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - second approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - second approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]; published January 27, 2018, 15:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8196.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574228261, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - second approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]}}, month = {January},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8196}}


After a first approach, where also the history and idea where it came from is detailed [link], I now set up and tested a second approach to modifying my Colnago C40 carbon bike with a triple chainring Shimano Ultegra chainset.

The extensive testing of my first approach that I had performed there lead to a range of concise detailed issues and problems. There were now addressed, all, and thus a second (and significantly better) approach resulted.

As stated before, no disability sports advocate specializing in road bikes and no bicycle mechanic specializing in individualization and custom solutions over the years ever thought this was possible in this way. They all said it could not be done. And I had asked a few of them, since it had bugged me a lot. And as I had sold my Cannondale road bike after the amputation, thinking there was no way, I now got myself a road bike back and decided to go down my own path to really use it the way it is meant to be used.

Generally and as part of riding a road bike, I wanted fast and comfortable gear switching, fast and accessible and comfortable braking, and I wanted to be able to enjoy various and if possible equally comfortable sitting positions or body positions. A great road bike trip may be a lot longer than a fast mountain bike trip into the forest. Last but not the least, as amputee my stump usually would suffer from vibration induced pain after 20 minutes  particularly with hard connectors such as the Mert or Freelock adapters, so padding definitely was an issue.

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