Simona's First Time Wearing CyberLimb Arm Prosthesis
The day was finally here! It was the day we as the student team have been looking forward to since the formation of the CyberTUM team. After loosening COVID restrictions in Bavaria, Simona (our pilot) finally got the chance to come to the lab and try out the CyberLimb prosthesis for the first time! We have had many conversations and small gatherings with Simona over the last 6 months, but this was the first time she was actually able to wear the prosthesis and try out the basic functionality of the device.
The afternoon began with the team welcoming Simona to the MSRM lab where we have been working on the development of the CyberLimb device for about 1.5 years. The student team and CyberLimb device have evolved throughout this time period. Thus, the core student team re-/introduced themselves and provided a short update on all of our work over the past few months of development to showcase our latest CyberLimb device.
After a brief introduction, the team set up Simona with the system. Simona put on the prosthesis and the backpack containing the electronics, battery, emergency stops, and phone interface. Our first impressions were that Simona was able to interface well with the overall system. She acknowledged that the length of the device was appropriate, though she did note that the system was a bit heavy. Moving forward we are investigating whether or not we can incorporate the electronics box in the backpack, as well as plastic bearings for rotation joints as an effort to reduce the overall weight of the device.
In order for Simona to control the prosthesis, we needed to first record some EMG data to be able to decode her intentions. She made the various muscle contractions for different hand positions that will allow her to open and close the gripper. Next, we gave a brief introduction on how she is able to control the device with the phone interface. Simona was then able to use the phone interface to control the wrist of the device. Moving forward in future weekly training sessions, Simona will be able to try out the other various control features of the device, namely the EMG gripper control, auto-leveling wrist mode, haptic task mode, and manual forearm rotation. She will also have the opportunity to attempt the various challenges from the Cybathlon competition. We are excited to see the progression of her using the prosthesis, while also collecting feedback in order to improve the overall design and functionality of the device.
Lastly, after a few team pictures and videos, Simona took off the device and was interviewed for a short team promotional video. She emphasized her excitement for competing in the virtual Cybathlon challenge and also for the opportunity to be part of the research team for future prosthesis development. Overall, we were thrilled to have Simona visit the lab and try out the prosthesis for the first time. Simona and the rest of the team are excited for Cybathlon competition in November in which we can showcase our efforts on a global stage!