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 [^][2]:

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 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. 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 forarmed 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 such 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 the run, the stiffer the legs appeared to be. WTF. They could have asked me. I make my arm stiffer at 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.



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

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


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:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1603250901, 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 = {}}