Innovative technology to help make everyday tasks more natural for prosthesis wearers
Ottobock has launched Europe’s first upper limb prosthesis control device with ‘pattern recognition’ technology, with the ability to learn and remember movements from its user to activate hand grips and actions.
Unlike conventional myo-electric arms, which contain one or two specific sensors to pick up muscle contractions, which then in turn operate grip patterns in a myo-electric hand, Myo Plus contains a network of sensors which learn the movements of the person operating it and remember it for the next time an action is repeated.
It contains eight electrodes which measure the movement patterns of muscles in the residual forearm and assign them to certain movements or grips. As it learns these patterns, it eventually recognises them when they’re activated again and automatically give the prosthesis the command to perform the required grip.
As a result, everyday tasks like tying shoelaces, lifting a mug of coffee or turning a doorknob become a much more natural action for the wearer as the prosthesis intuitively knows to perform the action, without the wearer having to think about contracting very specific muscles instead.
Additionally, the wearer controls the learning process of Myo Plus, after the initial fitting by a prosthetist. Myo Plus comes with an app which visualises the measured movement patterns and allows a person to practice. This helps them learn how to use it within days.
In time, Myo Plus will come to learn a huge number of different patterns, as many hand movements differ only by the slightest nuance. These can be saved on the app and the wearer can make their own adjustments to fine-tune what movements they would like Myo Plus to recognise.
Emma Gillespie, head of prosthetics at Ottobock UK, said: “Myo Plus is a game changer for below-elbow amputees who use our MyoBock range of hands, from the bebionic, which has 14 grip patterns, to the lifelike Michelangelo with seven grip patterns and a controllable thumb.
“Reaching for a bottle and pouring a glass of water is a completely natural action for most of us, but not for someone after an arm amputation. Myo Plus goes a long way to restore these natural actions, and we’re looking forward to hearing about patients whose lives have been changed with this technology.”