They must be joking. 1 Billion GBP funding (or so) to support a study that examines how Three Legged Dogs move.

The general public is obviously being reamed for upper extremity prosthetics prices and moderate or bad quality, absent or minimal innovation, and certainly instances of sale tactic that are reportable to cartel offices. So, do we feel bad about this?

Nope. The EU is spending 1 Billion GBP (about 1,5 Billion CHF or 1,5 Billion USD) for a FP7 (framework 7) [1] project as part of which the motion of three-legged dogs are examined.

A reader [3] alerted me to the possibility it might "only" be 2,7 Million Euros spent in them dogsies (about 3,6 Million CHF or 3,5 Million USD) [2].

Em, thanks for that....

... but quite frankly, personally, I would even find 3.30 CHF far too much money for this.

Not because allegedly they are in fact doing robotics [3] (all nice and sweet but what an excuse!), but guess what they found out [^][1]:

The dogs were found to encounter more difficulties dealing with a missing front leg than a missing back leg, because of the distribution of their body weight.

And no, it is not an error of translation, this is a real result [link][2]1 :

Dr Gross and colleagues discovered that the dogs found it more difficult to deal with a missing fore-limb than a missing hind-limb.

But better not speculate. Better still to consolidate [2]?

The results of this study were presented at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Prague in the Czech Republic on 1 July 2010. But the scientists insisted that their research was ongoing and said they hoped to make further measurements to consolidate their findings.

Bwahaha. Poor dogs though. There seem only few that participate voluntarily, so they seemingly also asked humans to try the four / three legged running 2 . I am sorry but if that is not painfully obvious to you, you should not be given money, but lose a bet. I would not have bet even a cup of coffee for this subject unless you'd a insisted it's them rear legs whose amputation'd cause them dogs the most trouble.

Let me ask you another question: if a one legged man of 70 kg weight wears a prosthesis who can put 10 kg of weight on his prosthetic leg and 60-70 kg on his complete healthy leg is stripped (a) of his prosthetic leg (b) of the use of his complete healthy leg, what do you guess - is he going to struggle more with (a) or (b)? Out of your gut feeling, don't you know the answer? Seeing as if that is sky clear, how much money would you spend on establishing this? Are you satisfied when I bet you a cup of coffee the removal of the (b) healthy leg will make him struggle more or do you agree that even 3.30 CHF would be a waste of money? Would you even go as far as paying 68 dollars for the right answer? What about 300 dollars? Would you find 500 dollars a rip-off if I told you removal of the leg where he carries more weight is more difficult for him? What about you'd have to pay 9000 dollars? I could go on and walk you all the way up to what these guys are spending there. And it wouldn't get any better.

Mind you, this is amputee-based research in the year 2010. And people are wondering why prosthetic solutions suck.

Now, one reader [3] alerted me to what he felt was the fact that this was not amputee-based research. Look, if you examine a three-legged dog and it does take you all that to figure out that a front leg missing is a bigger problem than a rear leg missing but on top of that you cannot recognize that this is amputee based research, let me say it very slowly: three, leg-ged, dog. If that is not amputee-based research, why aren't you using perfectly normal four-legged dogs? Is it because four is an odd number to you because forwarned is forearmed and four is an odd number of arms to have?

And it is quite a valid point that I am making: if such amputee-based research spends that type of money on such research insights, no wonder prosthetic solutions suck.

This sentence contains far more between the lines than we all should be comfortable with. There are a lot of middle steps involved in getting these projects up all the way to releasing such crowd raisers as outlined above - and, yes, I mean all of these middle steps as well. Actually, I am talking about these in particular. And then I could start by saying that developing a really good prosthetic solution does require careful analysis and hence no wonder... - and it wouldn't really get any better.

But who'd a thunk it, about these three-legged dogs, hm?

Update May 2017

As the mail back then that the reader had sent [3] seemed a bit upset, I decided to come back to see what they came up with given all that money.

From the EU blurb [2] it appeared that a certain Martin Groß acted as some key person there so what more obvious than to search for his name plus "Locomorph" using Google Scholar.

One single small article was listed [link]. That article [4] describes intact dogs tested on a treadmill videoed using markers - but we are not told how many dogs or experiments. Regardless, the faster they run, the stiffer the legs appeared to be. WTF. They could have asked me. I make my arm stiffer at the elbow and wrist and hand, when swimming sprints. And my legs too.

Unfortunately, they spent 3,6 Million CHF there which instead they could have used on actual research.

[1] http://www.computerworlduk.com/management/government-law/public-sector/news/index.cfm?newsid=21185&utm_source=slashdot&utm_medium=sb&utm_content=lking&utm_campaign=sb

[2] http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?id=/research/headlines/news/article_10_07_15_en.html&item=Infocentre&artid=17253

[3] Someone sent me this e-mail, see.

[4] Groß, Martin, Jürgen Rummel, and André Seyfarth. "How to achieve stable trotting?." simulation 300: 0.

How_to_achieve_stable_trotting

Footnotes

  1. From https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/32339-how-threelegged-dogs-improve-robot-design - How three-legged dogs improve robot design EU scientists working at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena in Germany have examined how three-legged dogs move in order to develop robots that can help them continue functioning in the event of the loss of a limb. EU support for the research came from the LOCOMORPH ('R... EU scientists working at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena in Germany have examined how three-legged dogs move in order to develop robots that can help them continue functioning in the event of the loss of a limb. EU support for the research came from the LOCOMORPH ('Robust robot locomotion and movements through morphology and morphosis') project, which received EUR 2.7 million from the 'Embodied intelligence' Initiative within the 'Information and communication technologies' (ICT) Thematic area of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Canines are known for their resilience in the face of limb-loss, often managing to move about admirably on three legs. So researchers in Germany wanted to discover how they managed to move so capably without a full set of limbs. They looked at walking and running techniques in dogs with fore-limb or hind-limb amputations and found that the animals adopted different coping techniques or 'compensation strategies' to retain their mobility depending on which limb was missing. 'Natural terrestrial locomotion is designed for an even number of limbs,' explained Martin Gross, lead researcher and biologist at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena. 'After limb loss, for example by an injury, a re-organisation of the locomotive system is required.' Dr Gross and colleagues discovered that the dogs found it more difficult to deal with a missing fore-limb than a missing hind-limb. They explained that with a hind-leg amputation, the fore-limbs continued to act as they would normally in a four-legged dog, showing little or no compensation strategy. However, if a fore-limb was missing, the remaining limbs were forced to undergo careful adaptation to coordinate with each other via a process known as 'gait compensation', concluded the researchers. They suggested that this difference was due to the higher loading of the fore-limbs in comparison to the hind-limbs because of the distribution of the dogs' body weight. The scientists came to these conclusions after analysing dogs with fore-limb and hind-limb amputations running on a treadmill, synchronised to 10 high-speed infrared cameras, for 2 minutes at a time. They placed reflective markers on the dogs' skin to follow the movement of separate parts of the body and recorded the trajectory of the movements. They then made complex comparisons of the characteristics of movement, known as kinematics, between dogs with different limbs missing and also with the 'normal' movement of four-legged dogs. The results of this study were presented at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting in Prague in the Czech Republic on 1 July 2010. But the scientists insisted that their research was ongoing and said they hoped to make further measurements to consolidate their findings. Their work is an outcome of the four-year EU LOCOMORPH project being carried out by biologists, physicists and engineers at a host of institutions, notably the University of Zurich and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne in Switzerland, the University of Syddansk in Denmark, the University of Antwerp in Belgium and the University of Ryerson in Canada, as well as the University of Jena. Kick-started in 2009, the project's goal is to advance robotic locomotion and movement through a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account biology, biomechanics, neuroscience, robotics and embodied intelligence. Researchers hope to find ways of increasing the efficiency, robustness, and thus the usability of robots in unknown environments. Future work under the LOCOMORPH project to develop a better understanding of locomotive activity will examine voluntary and involuntary changes to body movement in a wide range of different animals, from lizards to okapis, and baboons to humans. Countries Germany
  2. From https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20100813201739541:  Three-legged dogs needed for robot research Jane Marshall 15 August 2010 - European scientists are looking for three-legged dogs to support a European Union-funded project to improve robot design and mobility. The four-year Locomorph - Robust Robot Locomotion and Movements through Morphology and Morphosis - project is based at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. Its aim is to develop robotic locomotion and movements, increasing robots' efficiency, robustness and thus "usability in unknown environments". Locomorph combines multidisciplinary approaches from biology, biomechanics, neuroscience, robotics and embodied intelligence to investigate locomotion and movements in animals and robots, focusing on the two concepts of morphology and morphosis. The EU is supporting the project, which started in 2009, with EUR2.7 million (US$3.6 million) from the Embodied Intelligence initiative within the information and communication technologies thematic area of the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme. "Canines are known for their resilience in the face of limb-loss, often managing to move about admirably on three legs," says a summary report on the project. So the researchers, led by biologist Martin Gross at Friedrich Schiller, examined the walking and running techniques of dogs missing a fore-leg or hind-leg to find out how they could move so capably. The researchers analysed the movements of the three-legged dogs running for two minutes on a treadmill, synchronised to 10 high-speed infrared cameras. Reflective markers on the dogs' skin followed the movements of separate parts of their bodies, recording the trajectory of their movements. Comparisons were made of the 'kinematics' - characteristics of movement - of the dogs with different missing limbs; and of those of the three-legged dogs with the 'normal' movements of four-legged dogs. The research found the three-legged dogs adopted different coping techniques or 'compensation strategies' to retain mobility, depending on which limb was missing. Dogs missing a front limb found it more difficult to manoeuvre than those missing a back leg. With an amputated hind-leg the fore-limbs continued to act as they would normally, showing little or no compensation strategy. But, the research found, with a missing front leg the remaining limbs were forced to undergo careful adaptation to coordinate with each other via a process called 'gait compensation'. The researchers suggested the difference was due to the higher loading of fore-limbs compared with hind-limbs because of the distribution of the dogs' body weight. The research findings so far were presented in July at the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology in Prague. While the project is based at the university in Jena, biologists, physicists and engineers taking part are from institutions including the University of Zurich and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne in Switzerland, the University of Syddansk in Denmark, Belgium's University of Antwerp and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Gross told University World News the dogs were injured naturally. "In some cases they lost their limb through car accidents and some were born with leg deformations." He said he needed more dogs to verify the data. "We want to have five with fore-limb and five with hind-limb amputation, more if possible. It's hard to find them and to convince the owners to take part." Animals other than dogs are also taking part in the Locomorph experiments to increase knowledge about locomotive activity. Future research will examine 'voluntary' and 'involuntary' changes to body movement in species including lizards, okapis, baboons - and humans. "Voluntary changes in pedality are those, for example, in baboons who first walk on four limbs, then they lift their body and walk on two limbs. Or maybe they walk on three limbs with something in one hand," explained Gross. "Involuntary changes are, for example, performed by the three-legged dogs. They are only able to locomote on their three remaining limbs. Here we analyse gait pattern and control strategies to compensate the lost limb as well as joint and segment kinematics of the limbs and back." "For the [voluntary change] experiments with humans we have between 10 and 20 subjects and make several trials of each single experiment with every person," said Gross. "They run on four limbs, and then they have to lift up their body during the trial and run bipedally."

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - They must be joking. 1 Billion GBP funding (or so) to support a study that examines how Three Legged Dogs move.; published 23/07/2010, 00:19; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=340.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1624073385, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - They must be joking. 1 Billion GBP funding (or so) to support a study that examines how Three Legged Dogs move.}}, month = {July},year = {2010}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=340}}