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Category: Touch Bionics iLimb

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_1571222373, 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_1571222373, 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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Angular constraints of prosthetic grippers and functional success correlation [technical evaluation]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Angular constraints of prosthetic grippers and functional success correlation [technical evaluation]; published February 11, 2019, 04:55; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9322.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Angular constraints of prosthetic grippers and functional success correlation [technical evaluation]}}, month = {February},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9322}}


I had evaluated, subjectively, the grip performance of various prosthetic options that I have. These have been already analysed in the context of grip taxonomy, where so far, research has largely focused on grip geometry as such, using some idiosyncratic logic that I found not too relevant.

Using a more relevant logic, I approached the question of grip mechanic from a different angle, both verbally and proverbially speaking: from a user angle, both actually geometrically and subjectively speaking.

I realized that most of my frequently used grips and grip situations fall into a far more narrow range of angle distributions than I had ever assumed.  So I sat down to add "typical object angles" to my already present grip success statistics over a list of my most frequently or typically used grips. Then I did that in theory and THEN I figured, why not go and video some. Thereby, a prosthetic hook as gripper device appears to be a lot more advanced, design wise, geometrically, in reducing device materials, bulk and design to approximate a really good overall use performance than the iLimb (which I have here also for as much testing as I like) and with that, many current commercial (or other) multi articulated hands.

In fact, prosthetic hands appear to be by far the older (and thus possibly less reflected) geometric design idea of a prosthetic arm's terminal device than the definitely more modern split hook. I may also go history hunting, but the claim that a split hook is old or outdated, and that therefore by inference a prosthetic hand is automatically new or more modern, as an idea, is wrong, particularly technically speaking. But also historically, to replace a hand with a hand is a straightforward design idea, that does not take any imagination, thus it is reportedly old, very old.

The far more elegant reduction, also of angles and controls, to fit into the limited action and option constraints of an arm amputee, is certainly that of a body powered split hook. It boils down the prosthetic needs to a successful sleek elegant reduction of a functional minimum, making it the ideal choice for anyone that wants a maximum of performance from a minimum of failure, cost, decay, bulk, futile grip attempts and total overhead. The subtle distinction is that a "body powered split hook" is an entirely different beast than a passive hook, obviously, which probably no one ever noticed, particularly not the people that assumed that a body powered split hook is best portrayed by installing a "Captain Hook" metaphor.

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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_1571222373, 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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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_1571222373, 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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Towards a more sustainable cosmetic covering / glove for the iLimb Revolution

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Towards a more sustainable cosmetic covering / glove for the iLimb Revolution; published January 24, 2018, 09:56; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8159.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Towards a more sustainable cosmetic covering / glove for the iLimb Revolution}}, month = {January},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8159}}


The fragility (and cost) of the gloves or coverings of the Touchbionics iLimb is legendary. No prosthetic hands smokes off expensive gloves faster.

That is in part because the relatively weak but lightweight motors will stop if the glove offers extensive resistance to the hand. So only the thinnest of gloves are given out by Touch Bionics for reasons of grip strength.

Only, as proficient user, that aspect greatly sucks.

Luckily, there is a bit of competition on the glove market - not as much as we wish to be, but some.

This reminds us of the times back in the days, when computer manufacturers issued proprietary video and monitor plugs. And when we got ourselves dip-switch setting modified video plug adapters to hook up Sun monitors on Apple or PC computers despite manufacturers' attempts to dominate device combinations. Growing into an industry that generally gives users only "their own" add-ons, consumables or other prosthetic extensions of any general kind, I was fast to see this as issue here as well.

And while the Bebionic hand's cosmetic glove allegedly may give Bebionic users a difficult time because it restricts or affects the thumb of the Bebionic too much, that glove is thick and sturdy enough to survive and yet sufficiently compliant to work with the iLimb. One will want it when one sees it, it is so good. So I got one because I wanted one when I saw one. Cosmetically, it sucks as it folds up and so on, but then, hiding one's handicap has not been approximated by the "bionic" trend currently happening in the realm of prosthetic hands.

The drawback is that the Bebionic covering's fingers are a bit too long for the iLimb. Here is how I fixed that.

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Bad Hand Day V - will the mobile app actually start?

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Bad Hand Day V - will the mobile app actually start?; published January 23, 2018, 23:01; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8150.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Bad Hand Day V - will the mobile app actually start?}}, month = {January},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8150}}


As I was lucky tonight, the app for the Touchbionics iLimb actually started after the 8th attempt. That is better than it was, there were times when it did not start at all.

So first, one spends a bit of time "warming the system up".

Time lapse video loop (2x), exuding serene obsolescence:

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Case-study of a user-driven prosthetic arm design: bionic hand versus customized body-powered technology in a highly demanding work environment [article out]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Case-study of a user-driven prosthetic arm design: bionic hand versus customized body-powered technology in a highly demanding work environment [article out]; published January 4, 2018, 14:29; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8066.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Case-study of a user-driven prosthetic arm design: bionic hand versus customized body-powered technology in a highly demanding work environment [article out]}}, month = {January},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8066}}


 


This is a blog post of one of the rare focused and well based scientific journal articles that really explains how real work, body powered and myoelectric arms relate and go together for a unilateral right below elbow amputee in a physically demanding work environment.

The prior presentation of this paper [poster at Cybathlon symposium 2016], which had been more pragmatically worded (with me thinking people would know anyway), this was now written up as article and published. During that process, the reviewers clearly made great points of all kinds of aspects I never knew were not sky clear to everyone.

So maybe, writing a ~ 30 page case study with > 210 references does clarify stuff, at least potentially and for those that actually read it. But possibly, it still requires attention to even just read it.

Knowledge does not come easy, Highlander! (Nakano, in: Highlander III The Final Dimension)

 

If you are more interested in visionary posts, read about the gadget features of the prosthetic arm in Kingsmen: The Golden Circle [link]. And technically, myoelectric control did have it coming. That technology remained uncool for four decades [link].

Publication [link]

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Guitar pick holder for iLimb / Dunlop TORTEX picks [3d printed solution]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Guitar pick holder for iLimb / Dunlop TORTEX picks [3d printed solution]; published February 12, 2017, 17:23; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7198.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Guitar pick holder for iLimb / Dunlop TORTEX picks [3d printed solution]}}, month = {February},year = {2017}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7198}}


As we all know, I just recently designed and rapid prototyped a guitar pick holder for my prosthetic hook.

And guess what, this guitar pick holder also perfectly fits my iLimb revolution, certainly making me the first official "Cyborg AND 3d-print" endowing prosthetic arm guitar player, like, ever ; ) That just got to be raising hell, getting all these new hyped up slogan words lined up, like, together. Plus, this is just a really first test, as in, first minutes. I put in on, and 5 minutes later, this.

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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_1571222373, 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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Grip strengths (measured results)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Grip strengths (measured results); published January 18, 2017, 20:09; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7085.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Grip strengths (measured results)}}, month = {January},year = {2017}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7085}}


Using a Camry EH101 electronic hand dynamometer, I went through a few prosthetic terminal devices for my arm to see just how strong they were. And I added a baseline for my (human) left hand and my (bare) stump.

This certainly provides a base for a range of discussions later. Or previous ones ; )

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Towards Extreme Cyborging (EC) microworks: very small things [grip mechanics theory, parametrization and then testing side by side - Trautman hook, Hosmer Mod 5 hook, TRS Prehensor, Touch Bionics iLimb revolution]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Towards Extreme Cyborging (EC) microworks: very small things [grip mechanics theory, parametrization and then testing side by side - Trautman hook, Hosmer Mod 5 hook, TRS Prehensor, Touch Bionics iLimb revolution]; published December 28, 2016, 17:52; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7010.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Towards Extreme Cyborging (EC) microworks: very small things [grip mechanics theory, parametrization and then testing side by side - Trautman hook, Hosmer Mod 5 hook, TRS Prehensor, Touch Bionics iLimb revolution]}}, month = {December},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7010}}


Small things to be picked up, side by side demo with other prosthetic devices.

Yes, very small things.

"It is the little things that count", they said. "The little things are important", they said. They all said that. But behold, their "bionic" apparatus cannot handle little things! "Why is a hook not evil", they wondered. And a storm of little demo videos came upon them. Deep into the myriad of grip mechanics this went.

"Get a grip on grips", he said.

This totally bypasses the fact that after laying down real life consequences for what I call Extreme Cyborging, I just finished building my first own steel Trautman hook, and all just with shape information from the internet. Yeah, you read that right. I did not build yet another one of the ubiquitous funny hands that promises to change my life or what it is these 3D printed hands now do - no. I sit on the demand and I sit on the technology and what is it that I do? See? This is what should really disturb you - because given the current signs of the times, it should feel deeply wrong on many levels. To you. But then, we were likely living on different planets all along, and maybe it is time you realize that too ; ) After we knew since years in detail what the Cybathlon showed us yet again, with glory but not with any improvement, it is yet again up to us, the users, to push further into what is, what can be, and what matters. And honestly? We have seen far enough funny hand videos.

What we have not seen is the Rebirth of The Cool. The Rebirth of an absolutely insane gripper. Physically. In 3D printed steel. The Trautman hook is such a device. And I went for it just because I can.
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Grip planning and carrying out [TRS Prehensor vs. iLimb Ultra Revolution - theory and practice]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Grip planning and carrying out [TRS Prehensor vs. iLimb Ultra Revolution - theory and practice]; published October 17, 2016, 17:49; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6764.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1571222373, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Grip planning and carrying out [TRS Prehensor vs. iLimb Ultra Revolution - theory and practice]}}, month = {October},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6764}}


To reliably plan and successfully carry out a grip using a prosthetic hand or gripper, it helps having a few requirements met.

This is obviously not clear at this moment, as recent experiences at the Cybathlon show. All the same, others and myself have addressed various related grip aspects previously so this is something we can come back to.

So let us start by watching the iLimb hand trying to grasp a clothespin.

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