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Category: Testing

Academically published myoelectric arm control error rates since ~1980 remain extremely high, far above any real life use requirement, and not even a slight trend to more reliable control in sight: what does this mean?

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Academically published myoelectric arm control error rates since ~1980 remain extremely high, far above any real life use requirement, and not even a slight trend to more reliable control in sight: what does this mean?; published January 29, 2019, 19:00; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9244.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571329525, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Academically published myoelectric arm control error rates since ~1980 remain extremely high, far above any real life use requirement, and not even a slight trend to more reliable control in sight: what does this mean?}}, month = {January},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9244}}


I took the liberty to review published error rates for myoelectric arm controls since ~1980. In other words: how reliable is the myoelectric arm control? How has the reliability changed over years?

This is hard data that is somewhat impossible to negotiate, and it has always been there for anyone to take. So forgive me when I anticipated some clear conclusions from such information over the last years - after all, I figured, a post such as this would not run away ; ) Even though, you must keep in mind that you read this here first as well. As far as I know, despite its ubiquitous availability, and despite a very obvious background or social reason for this (which is yet another subject), this collection of data has not been formally performed before. In fact, word of mouth had it that even decades ago, no self respecting engineer would deliberately enter the field of myoelectric or robotic prosthetic hands, simply because of all options one could do, that certainly was never a prosperous looking one.

The reason for this subject choice is, that I was interested in possibly identifying a trend, or a useful figure, for the reliability of myoelectric arm controls to consider in context of daily use. I used standard key word searches on Google Scholar and edited the resulting publications for relevance. I thus performed more systematically what I had done anecdotally a few years ago when it became obvious that one should not put too much hope into such prostheses, as their ongoing and intractable issues were somewhat obvious all along - at least from view point of a right below elbow amputee performing real work.

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List of possible prosthetic arm failure points [prosthetic reliability]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - List of possible prosthetic arm failure points [prosthetic reliability]; published October 31, 2018, 19:55; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8792.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571329525, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - List of possible prosthetic arm failure points [prosthetic reliability]}}, month = {October},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8792}}


Here is a list of my experience in prosthetic part degradation and failure intervals.

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Cybathlon 2020: introducing the BLUE LIGHT specials for the prosthetic arm challenges ahead [terminology, concept]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Cybathlon 2020: introducing the BLUE LIGHT specials for the prosthetic arm challenges ahead [terminology, concept]; published May 16, 2018, 09:52; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8315.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571329525, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Cybathlon 2020: introducing the BLUE LIGHT specials for the prosthetic arm challenges ahead [terminology, concept]}}, month = {May},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8315}}


"The Cybathlon 2016 demonstrated, in a comprehensive and entertaining manner, how people with disabili­ties can employ assistive devices." Novak, Domen, Peter Wolf, and Eugenio Guglielmelli. "Cybathlon 2016: Showcasing Advances in Assistive Technologies Through Competition [From the Guest Editors]." IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 24.4 (2017): 24-122.

An individual that just wants to stare at amputees to be entertained by them has no business being anywhere near rehabilitation, leave alone actual products, or people. Wolf Schweitzer, 2008.

Insights derived from the Cybathlon 2020 plan - the BLUE LIGHT Special Paragraphs

The proposed Cybathlon 2020 race setup (link) is out and the prosthetic arm race is relevant to read.

Seeing as if nothing tangible, visible, perceptible or legible appeared to have resulted from the Cybathlon for the benefit of prosthetic arms (that would have been the goal of the prosthetic arm race though, right, better prosthetic arms), the observations end up falling more under a sociological subject than a technical.

Therefore, I will introduce a category of BLUE LIGHT specials that - in that form as considered here - may be new: they combine sociological northern hemisphere aspects with technical aspects and considerations [1].

The Extreme Cyborging labels that I introduced a while ago, find increasing correlates here, with the BLUE LIGHT specials.However, as we shall see, these BLUE LIGHT specials may be more relevant than meets the eye.

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[1] D. Goodley and L. Swartz, "The place of disability," in Disability in the Global South, Springer, 2016, pp. 69-83.
[Bibtex]
@incollection{goodley2016place,
  title={The place of disability},
  author={Goodley, Dan and Swartz, Leslie},
  booktitle={Disability in the Global South},
  pages={69--83},
  year={2016},
  publisher={Springer}
}

Toughware Equilux - new VO (voluntary opening) / VC (voluntary closing) body powered device - industrial grip pads [concept, beta]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Toughware Equilux - new VO (voluntary opening) / VC (voluntary closing) body powered device - industrial grip pads [concept, beta]; published August 17, 2017, 20:15; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7569.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571329525, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Toughware Equilux - new VO (voluntary opening) / VC (voluntary closing) body powered device - industrial grip pads [concept, beta]}}, month = {August},year = {2017}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7569}}


Read about the Toughware Equilux here. All prosthetic hooks, prehensors or grippers lack the option of using industrial grip pads. Pads that are readily available, cheap, durable and that the user can easily switch.

And grip pads and grip gloves are a real issue. As posted before, grip pads must be soft,  possible to clean, easy and cheap to replace and convenient. These requirements are in part mutually exclusive. With the knife holding issue of the Equilux, what easier than to mount some standard bike rim brake pads and take it from there.

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Functional failures of prosthetic hands at the Cybathlon 2016 [details]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Functional failures of prosthetic hands at the Cybathlon 2016 [details]; published October 16, 2016, 13:23; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7655.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571329525, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Functional failures of prosthetic hands at the Cybathlon 2016 [details]}}, month = {October},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7655}}


The Cybathlon 2016 was accompanied with publically broadcast video documentation of the event.

It is just not just as systematic as one would wish for a comprehensive research and development setting, but then, it was not an academic research event, but a publicity performance. But still, it contains a plethora of technical references.

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What if Hugh Herr built prosthetic arms [development cycles, how to get better with engineering]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - What if Hugh Herr built prosthetic arms [development cycles, how to get better with engineering]; published June 5, 2016, 23:31; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6156.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571329525, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - What if Hugh Herr built prosthetic arms [development cycles, how to get better with engineering]}}, month = {June},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6156}}


The absolutely relevant key aspect about Hugh Herr is that a brilliant inventor and at the same time very demanding user can iterate the development cycles very fast and very well, whereas other projects not even make it to taking actual / real users into the close loop of development.

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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_1571329525, 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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