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Category: Cosmetic arm

Comparing elbow torque for iLimb Ultra Revolution, passive arm (new, old), body powered arm (hook alu, hook steel, Becker hand) [tech]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Comparing elbow torque for iLimb Ultra Revolution, passive arm (new, old), body powered arm (hook alu, hook steel, Becker hand) [tech]; published June 22, 2014, 20:32; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3328.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Comparing elbow torque for iLimb Ultra Revolution, passive arm (new, old), body powered arm (hook alu, hook steel, Becker hand) [tech]}}, month = {June},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3328}}


I measured weights, center of gravity and thus lever arm length, and from these, I obtained torque estimates for my elbow (reminder: I am talking about that elbow, yes, THAT elbow, contained in the tag "below elbow amputee").

The elbow thus carries the weight and moves the prosthesis in a major way. It is the last joint that I have on that arm before it ends. The results are interesting and explain what I have already observed about my posture and handling of these prosthetic options.

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Appearance Test [how to test if your prosthetic hand is life like]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Appearance Test [how to test if your prosthetic hand is life like]; published June 18, 2014, 12:55; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3295.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Appearance Test [how to test if your prosthetic hand is life like]}}, month = {June},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3295}}


Test reason and goal: appearances are everything.

It is of ultimate importance to understand that hand amputation as a disfigurement as much as a manual handicap.

Is cosmesis so important?

Disfigurement as such, per se, and in an isolated world of the person that is concerned would not be such a big issue at all. One is disfigured, one gets used to it at least to some degree, and that is that.

If one follows rational thought at all, then:

  • We know already - without any visualization - that current attempts to simulate a "life like" appearance all fail totally. Only a few bone hard illusion fans believe just how totally "life like" a, say, iLimb with cosmetic glove is; for these: see below tests and videos.
  • Spending money towards a top technology still fails, but that type of goal may set you back by around 35'000 CHF (customized cosmetic but otherwise just passive arm) or a whole lot more (for a "bionic" arm) - and still just fail to really hide the amputee status.
  • But not only do serious attempts to simulate human life like appearances fail, worse, they are thought and known to cause a particularly bad effect described by the Uncanny Valley. That model [link1] [link2] tells us that the correlation between life likeness and acceptance is not linear, but complicated.
  • We furthermore know from experience and from trial and error that non life-like prosthetic arms can take a lot of stress away, in fact they tend to exceed the top expensive solutions in achieving a better appearance or solution to some aspects of body image issues.
  • Body image is body image - and whatever we do there, is up to us. So if I do or do not wear a prosthetic arm is only a part of what all of me is, and what other people see and think is beyond control anyway.
  • If prosthetic arms generally have a bad acceptance, then one interpretation certainly is that the industry fails us. And that is certainly a correct interpretation for many reason all of which (at least in theory) can be changed. So as industrial representative, the best angle of attack is to understand what all is wrong with prosthetic arms in order to make better ones first and sell more then. This website is full of tips, clues and rather hard indicators along that direction.
  • If prosthetic arms generally have a bad acceptance, another interpretation however is that so and so many amputees cannot be wrong. Given the current prosthetic arm options, not wearing a prosthetic arm also can have great advantages [link1 SHAP rip] [link2 comparison]. These are not unknown or obscure: even though one gets recognized as amputee, prosthetic arms never change that; even though one has diminished function, prosthetic arms may yield somewhat but not drastically improved function or actually provide a greater handicap. The total cost of prosthetic arms includes spent time, finances and discomfort, damaged clothes and damaged objects as well as possibly injured other people (scratches, bangs, etc).

And so all that follows is probably not too rational

But it would be cool to be able to have the perfect apperance. Forget function for a moment. The missing arm part and hand is a communication barrier (unless one waltzes over it). People attach hopes to this aspect. They nowadays believe that if they own a piece of overpriced gadget junk their life improves. So within that realm of perception, let us think aloud.

And advertising can come across as rather progressive (Otto Bock: "The Michelangelo Hand and the Axon-Bus system are milestones on the path to perfection",  Touch Bionics: "With the i-limb ultra, your prosthesis looks and moves more like a natural hand than any other powered prosthetic hand"; RSL Steeper: "bebionic3 utilises leading-edge technology and unique, ergonomic features that make it unlike any other hand available. These innovations combine to give the hand unrivaled versatility, functionality and performance").

Conversely, did you ever think of wearing one of these hands, sitting in a meeting, and pouring a glass of water - and despite all cosmetic glove and "bionic" lookalikes, the loud noise would be the dead giveaway of the hand being a prosthetic?

Any feature that gives the prosthetic nature of a hand away would not be considered so "life-like" and thus any such feature should lead to immediate removal of the product from the line-up of prosthetic hands that can be considered "life-like".

Functional grip engineering and everyday usage from functional view point brought us the Becker hand and various hooks. Really difficult things may best be achieved without disabling prostheses [link]. So optimizing grip function gets us nowhere in terms of "life like" prosthetic hand and arm design. So we should abandon grip aspects altogether when starting out from anew.

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Cosmetic versus functional prosthetic arms [comparison of activities]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Cosmetic versus functional prosthetic arms [comparison of activities]; published April 10, 2011, 19:12; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=399.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Cosmetic versus functional prosthetic arms [comparison of activities]}}, month = {April},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=399}}


1 Comment

Cosmetic arms aren't as non-functional as you believe

The key issue for this article are these:

  • People frequently associate 'cosmetic' or 'passive' arms with 'no action.
  • People frequently associate 'myoelectric arms' with most action and function.
  • Whereas body powered arms are associated with outdated functionality that is considered crude.

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The case for a cheap "cosmetic" PVC glove for the prosthetic hand

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - The case for a cheap "cosmetic" PVC glove for the prosthetic hand; published February 9, 2011, 00:07; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=383.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - The case for a cheap "cosmetic" PVC glove for the prosthetic hand}}, month = {February},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=383}}


2 Comments

After trying *a lot* [1] I started to wear a "cosmetic" PVC glove on my Becker Imperial hand. For some reasons this turns out to be almost perfect for a range of very non-obvious reasons for many situations.

[1] I tried silicone gloves, hooks, grippers, myoelectric, cosmetic, rubber covers, nitrile covers, leather gloves.

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Hot summer - Wolf's new cosmetic arm - typing on a computer keyboard

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Hot summer - Wolf's new cosmetic arm - typing on a computer keyboard; published July 26, 2010, 01:02; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=341.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Hot summer - Wolf's new cosmetic arm - typing on a computer keyboard}}, month = {July},year = {2010}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=341}}


Some people believe a passive / cosmetic arm serves, practically speaking, "nothing".

That would then be a mistake.

Typing, for example, can go on all day like this with a perfect shoulder, back, neck and arm posture.

Hot summer - Wolf's new cosmetic arm

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Hot summer - Wolf's new cosmetic arm; published July 16, 2010, 13:00; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=334.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Hot summer - Wolf's new cosmetic arm}}, month = {July},year = {2010}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=334}}


Summer and too hot always to wear a t-shirt underneath the shirt. Kindly enough my request for a low profile cosmetic arm got approved.

And today I picked up that arm. Who would have thunk it. Having this rather simple arm on feel absolutely great. What a light and useful little thing!


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Artistic visions for prosthetic design IX - taking a leather and steel brace arm towards Red Arm III

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design IX - taking a leather and steel brace arm towards Red Arm III; published July 8, 2009, 00:50; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=196.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design IX - taking a leather and steel brace arm towards Red Arm III}}, month = {July},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=196}}


This is part of my Red Hand Series.

Summer approaches and I need a stylish arm. Wearing just one shirt (and not another one underneath) looks weird with the cable controlled arm - and wearing the harness directly on the skin is uncomfortable.

Being a resourceful person, I was able to snatch an almost unused mint condition 1964 prosthetic arm made from leather and steel - see photos - that fits my stump perfectly. This arm oozes style. It is definitely going to be my Red Arm III.

I am about to change that glove to something else that will obviously be red - but not right now. Things need to be in proper sequence here. But this leather steel prosthesis definitely does not look as nauseating or disturbing as the average setup - it has far more aspects of a saddle, of a thing you'd put on a horse. It looks much less like these undefinable prosthetic modern but still timeless if not outdated functional body replacements that work well but that just look so lost - lost in time and space, lost in style.

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Artistic visions for prosthetic design VIII - taking a mannequin shop window arm towards Red Arm II

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design VIII - taking a mannequin shop window arm towards Red Arm II; published July 2, 2009, 01:53; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=193.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design VIII - taking a mannequin shop window arm towards Red Arm II}}, month = {July},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=193}}


Moving on, I found that I really want a 'hand looking something'. Just because I like its shape look so much better than any other things there. Call me an anthropomorphophiliac.

I still feel significantly quieter, safer, relaxed and self sufficient wearing the hook whereas the hand is not giving me that feeling of being able to rely - but the shape of the hand itself is dear to me, it has a nice to look at aspect.

As other people definitely stare no matter what, I found out that wearing Red (instead of skin colored attempts) appears to shift responses from stressful childish or confused responses to far more mature or matured ones. Obviously we are dealing with each other in terms of "what type of person are you" before we deal with each other in terms of "who as an individual are you".

So in case you want to see the past and future rest of this project, click on the link to my Red Hand Series.

I am significantly inspired by designers' attempts to be 'proaesthetic' (Hans Alexander Huseklepp) or to 'translate an arm into a prosthetic arm' (Marek Gut). Current prosthetics generally lack humanity, style and grace. Often, current prostheses look much like landing gear and make the wearer uncomfortable, self aware, and sometimes depressed (Johanna M. Hawley).

There are certain hard minimal requirements - a prosthesis must be fully reliable, it must be stable and solid up to a point, and the socket or stump mount should be really comfortable and it must not hurt. But other than that, we are free in choosing material and appearance.

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Artistic visions for prosthetic design V - Red Arm I

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design V - Red Arm I; published June 22, 2009, 01:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=182.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design V - Red Arm I}}, month = {June},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=182}}


1 Comment

This is part of my Red Hand Series.

This prosthetic arm is now very clearly recognizable as a replacement part that does not attempt to camouflage but to replace a shape. And I am all for anthropomorphic shapes - don't get me wrong. Just because I really like my sturdy and reliable hook function does not mean I want to look that way. I want to look as complete as possible, and while that is not possible it appears as if I am currently negotiating a compromise.

So currently we put good old Steiner's Rudy and his ideas about nervous people to use after establishing that nervousness is a real issue. Who'd a thunk it, there is a logical thread, a theory and a strategy.

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Body powered vs. myoelectric vs. cosmetic vs. none

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Body powered vs. myoelectric vs. cosmetic vs. none; published May 10, 2009, 21:17; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=173.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569218661, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Body powered vs. myoelectric vs. cosmetic vs. none}}, month = {May},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=173}}


4 Comments

I now got a privately funded customized socket to try out a myoelectric prosthesis (used Otto Bock parts, initially functioning, no warranty). As my stump features some extra twitch packs (how do you call the muscle packs they put on your stump so you have a chance of creating extra myoelectric signals for modern prostheses?) I figured let us see how myoelectric stuff works as one day that may become interesting.

This adds to my collection in that I currently have a body powered setup (fully fledged), a cosmetic prosthesis (light weight, elegant) and the option of wearing none. Before opting for any bionic arm I was interested to see what issues might arise.

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