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Category: Skin

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_1571229365, 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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iLimb / myoelectric arm: chronic skin rash due to local myoelectric skin electrode placement during bicycle ride [complication report] [bad hand days/weeks/month] (towards the AUA/WIFUCD dichotomy)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - iLimb / myoelectric arm: chronic skin rash due to local myoelectric skin electrode placement during bicycle ride [complication report] [bad hand days/weeks/month] (towards the AUA/WIFUCD dichotomy); published January 29, 2017, 17:10; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7130.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - iLimb / myoelectric arm: chronic skin rash due to local myoelectric skin electrode placement during bicycle ride [complication report] [bad hand days/weeks/month] (towards the AUA/WIFUCD dichotomy)}}, month = {January},year = {2017}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7130}}


Testing myoelectric arm components in general: uncharted territories

Prosthetic arms in general do not usually appear to be tested a lot before getting thrown at the user, which is a statement that I find many examples for (glove may disintegrate all by itself; glove dies after just a few minutes of car washing; bolts never checked for size; etc.).

This is not to say that this is intrinsically bad - no. This is to say that the burden of testing and suffering the associated negative consequences of that also then reside with the user. If - at all - a company finds it unacceptable that users perform the testing and resulting discussions bad in any way, then (and only then) may they wish to consider a different type of product marketing and testing approach.

The question of whether manufacturers of prosthetic components test anything at all, also for skin safety, that question: it now also officially extends to skin electrodes.

As suggested by their ample advertising, a range of "bionic" myoelectric arms are demonstrated and shown around, as being able to sustain bicycle riding. So we have to assume that everyone seems to be of the opinion that it is cool to ride bikes, with, say, wearing an iLimb.

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Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]; published May 5, 2014, 17:43; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2979.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]}}, month = {May},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2979}}


2 Comments

Any self respecting medical doctor, orthopedic surgeon, prosthetist, and "bionic" researcher will ask you - in a concerned professional way - "and, do you wear your prosthetic arm often, hopefully even daily?".

We also must accept that wearing "bionic" arms is nowadays assumed to constitute "human enhancement". This obviously is something I will directly and confrontatively label as bitter, ignorant, harsh and degrading cynicism.

If I do wear my prosthetic arm daily, in their view, that makes me a better human or even more human at the same time as I am, in their view, maybe not so much a better human but a "good doggy". Really and in fact, we have a reality split in that - at the same time and at once - my realities are two fold and split:

(1) Outside: On one hand, me trying to wear a prosthetic "super" hand - such as a "bionic" hand - makes my shape outline appear more like the shape outline of other people and so there is this aspect of possibly becoming a better, a deeper human. Conversely, the disfigurement of an arm stump thus makes me less of a human - and that is also what the face of many shee shee froo froo people, many so-called superficial people, will tell me when (or if) I look at them. Clearly, my amputated arm can make other people feel that I am less human. And it clearly does so on any given occasion. This is to a very small part remedied by me wearing this "bionic" apparatus - a machine for symbolism and "hope" far more than a machine for grasping, working, getting stuff done or feeling well.

(2) Inside: On the other hand, wearing a myoelectric arm is a really uncomfortable and skin damaging ordeal that is cumbersome and even in the best of all worlds painful. It feels bad to a degree, where I cannot possibly be totally human any more - as I have to push all normal human reactions such as pain, self respect, worry about the skin on my stump, fear of what all that pain does to me, etc. aside. There is a truly heartfelt authentic element in praising my stubborn wearing of a myoelectric "bionic" arm using the words "good doggy".

So, wearing a "bionic" myoelectric arm on the outside is an act of extreme humane-ness, it approximates the un-disfigured appearance like nothing else. As long as it does not approximate anything, it represents an 80'000 USD promise - and that is extreme in terms of symbolism.

At the very same time, what goes on inside the socket is beyond comprehension to many people - as it is not just not human, but worse, it has truly inhuman aspects. It lowers one, soul wise and as an individuum, in my view.

Here is how my stump looks like after a duration of 10 hours of wearing my iLimb Ultra Revolution at the office, typing and carrying light weight files, possibly holding a cup while rinsing it with water, photographed 1/2 and 7 hours after removing the prosthetic arm. To get the battery to last that long, I had switched the hand off for extended periods of time. Like, when I was typing. Never did my arm look like that after even hard work with the body powered arm such as jobs like hedge cutting [link], scrubbing [link] serious furniture moving [link] and so on. Yesterday I cut the hedges again, got rid of major amounts of stuff and moved a few hundred liters of green waste to the disposal with the body powered arm and really, the skin of my arm is not at all like what we see below - all is smooth and no problem. It is not the prosthesis as such that is a problem generally. It is the difficulty to achieve electrode fit and socket fit at once that really constitutes the "bionic" dilemma here, combined with hard lift and pull forces. Leg amputees can not understand from their own sockets, they experience different problems, not these. If it just was some simple body powered arms, or passive arms, we'd all be cool. Look, I am not saying "eeks, bad". I am saying, why the pansy boy type of immature excitement over what really is still problematic and massively overpriced technology when it comes to "bionic" arms? And here: can you reflect on the deeper meaning of what "bionic" arm wearing may entail?

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Friction rash [allergy? sweat? skin disease? poor hygiene? no - just using arm up by simple friction]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Friction rash [allergy? sweat? skin disease? poor hygiene? no - just using arm up by simple friction]; published February 1, 2014, 13:16; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2727.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Friction rash [allergy? sweat? skin disease? poor hygiene? no - just using arm up by simple friction]}}, month = {February},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2727}}


1 Comment

I did not realize how important friction - the consequence of objects rubbing against my skin - was until last autumn. Already earlier, I successfully identified a type of eczema as caused by mechanical properties of the prosthetic arm (then, congestion eczema resulted from ill fitting Ossur liners). So maybe the mechanics of prosthetic suspension remains a main source of contemplation for the near future.

Mostly, I would get occasional rashes under the liner, and that was then attributed to poor hygiene, sweat, allergy against the material of the liner, some obscure skin disease maybe or whatnot. A dermatologist prescribed me various types of steroid or non-steroid type anti-eczema creme, and after a while the rash would subside. With treating a rash, one will also keep the stump still, or be generally more subdued, one will by and large avoid dumb maneuvers with the prosthetic arm on, such as moving a room of furniture or so, and delay all these activities to a later point in time when the stump has recovered. So maybe after all, the cremes never were that much help as just staying out of trouble.

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Categories: Skin Stump care Support

Water and skin rash - stump care

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Water and skin rash - stump care; published December 26, 2009, 05:01; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=249.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Water and skin rash - stump care}}, month = {December},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=249}}


[Artikel in Deutsch]

I return from holidays and my arm had been almost used up - wearing the prosthesis all day. The next working day, the people from the boiler service show up. They advertise as working without chemistry - so they mechanically remove calcification and replace some parts.

Now, what happened was that I got eczema on my stump. That is not normal as I usually have good success with the way I do my stump care.

Even after two weeks and with a dermatologist that prescribed various skin cremes, it only got better a little bit. It was burning, painful and red and bumpy.

I suspected a skin cream, some allergy, some overuse wearing the prosthetic arm maybe. But that turned out to be just a part of the issue.

I usually shower and wash myself outside from home (typically after sports) and so the only part that gets washed at home using luke warm tap water, that is my arm stump. But I did not notice anything peculiar at first.

Only two weeks later ...

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Stump socks / protectors for different applications II

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications II; published July 11, 2009, 06:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=197.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications II}}, month = {July},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=197}}


The PET bottle trick (step by step instructions here) looked so cool.

I am on my way to working out comfortable and functional interface solution, to get robust and functional arm stump protection. Also I am slowly getting my hand/s dirty in the domain of building some of my own stuff - and if just for testing out some 'spare parts'. Second last but not least I should also create a feel of 'amateur' and 'enthusiastic' not as to scare off our 'professionals'. Also, I always believe in full step by step documentation of stuff, and if only for later referral. Even in instances where it seems that I failed. No one can learn if failures are not available for reviewing.

So trying this one out came naturally.

Required material:

  • Alginate (cheap, web order)
  • Plaster cast (cheap, supermarket or web order)
  • PET bottle (try to get something a bit bigger than the correct size)

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Stump socks / protectors for different applications I

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications I; published November 15, 2008, 15:24; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=114.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump socks / protectors for different applications I}}, month = {November},year = {2008}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=114}}


3 Comments

I am not always wearing the prosthesis or keeping my stump uncovered to air it out. Often, some protective clothing or stump socks are helpful.

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Sweat and stump skin rash - Stump care

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Sweat and stump skin rash - Stump care; published August 10, 2008, 17:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=32.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571229365, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Sweat and stump skin rash - Stump care}}, month = {August},year = {2008}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=32}}


2 Comments

What appear to be sweat and hot conditions seem to cause my arm stump to become irritated and develop a mildly itching, red bumpy rash - similar to a baby butt rash or heat rash.

Proper stump care is key to controlling this. Also, check the water conditions.

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