BionIT Labs ranked first place in the Cybathlon Challenges 2024

Organized for the first time in 2016 by ETH Zurich, also this year took place the international competition aimed at promoting the development of assistive technologies for people with disabilities. The event saw many teams from around the world competing simultaneously in the Challenges organized in anticipation of the main event, CYBATHLON 2024, scheduled to take place in October.

It was a useful and stimulating opportunity for the involved teams to present their technologies and the skills of their pilots in four different selected activities of their discipline.

The first place in the Arm Prosthesis Race discipline was obtained by our team with our pilot Philipp: an achievement that we want to celebrate by telling you more!

The 2024 Challenges 

Adrenaline, and enthusiasm return to BionIT Labs with the Cybathlon Challenges 2024! Our team already participated in last year’s event, placing third on the podium, using a device with the same characteristics as the product already on the market, without any modifications to adapt it to the specific competition tasks.

This year too, we participated in the competition, with the commercial device enhanced in recent months, in the category dedicated to upper limb prostheses: the premise from which we started is that a person with limb difference often faces significant challenges when interacting with the physical environment and the numerous activities of daily life.

Devices like Adam’s Hand provide valuable support in a patient’s everyday life: with its numerous features and functionalities, it allows experiencing full autonomy in performing simple or complex activities, such as grasping a baking tray, screwing in a light bulb, or handling other equally delicate objects.

The race tasks

The tasks and activities that the athletes had to perform fall within what is indicated in the Race and Rules of the Cybathlon 2024 World Edition.

All tasks completed by the pilots with their upper limb prostheses are effectively everyday life activities.

• Do-it-yourself

The dexterous use of hand tools requires a prosthetic hand and wrist that provide active motion about multiple axes. Since hand tools are often used in confined spaces the active control of many degrees of freedom becomes even more important. In this task, pilots must use a variety of hand tools in the context of do-it-yourself type work.

Despite Philipp using a quick-release wrist with passive rotation, the ease of use and gripping strength of Adam’s Hand allowed him to pass the task without difficulty: task passed!

• Hanging laundry

Handling laundry and putting on clothes requires a distinct set of fine motor skills, in particular in the fingers. Furthermore, for an arm prosthesis to be practical for daily use it must be compatible with standard clothes. In this task, the pilot must put on a hooded sweater and fully close the zipper. Then, the pilot must hang up the hooded sweater on the clothesline using a hanger. Finally, the pilot must hang up a t-shirt on the clothesline using blue clothespins.

Again, Adam’s Hand’s precision, combined with the extensive forearm movements allowed by Philipp’s USC socket, enabled him to pass the task smoothly: task passed!

• Serving food

Cooking often involves grasping and carrying objects (e.g., pans) of significant weight from one location to another while it must be made sure that none of the content is split. In this task, a casserole dish and a frying pan must be carried from the stove to a predefined location on a table.

We smiled at one of the commentators’ remark: task passed, “I have never seen anyone so fast in the kitchen!”

• Stacking

Maintenance of a tight grip during postural changes of the arm (e.g., pronation and supination of the forearm, elbow flexion and extension) can be challenging for prosthetic hand users but is relevant in many situations in daily life such as when pouring liquids or turning objects. In this task, pilots sit in front of a table and must stack blue cups into a vertical pyramid.

Thanks to our AI-based control algorithm, Adam’s Hand is easy to use even in non-standard arm positions, for which other devices may have control issues, related for example to involuntary co-contraction movements, prolonged contractions, and the like: for BionIT Labs, task passed and finish line!

The ease of use of Adam’s Hand is not only noticeable during the task execution but also in the speed of transition from one task to another: not having to perform complicated muscle co-contractions, double or triple muscle impulses to select the best grip for each task, the patient is free to focus on the most important thing: performing the task!

This reduces the psychological burden and muscle fatigue associated with gripping action, making the action more natural and effective.

Our pilots

Our pilot was Philipp Barluschke, our German ambassador specialized in upper limb socket fitting, known through training activities carried out at Uniprox, our official distributor in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Philipp has always been very enthusiastic about our technology and, after trying many multi-articulated myoelectric prostheses available on the market, chose to use Adam’s Hand, a support he considered extremely intuitive and reliable, perfect for performing all daily life activities.

Our co-pilot was Salvatore De Cillis, who competed as the lead pilot for the Cybathlon Challenges in the previous edition, also our ambassador. Salvatore has been with the company since its inception and has provided us with useful feedback over time to improve Adam’s Hand more and more.

Just like last year, the first challenge took place during an in-house contest: this internal race was very stimulating and useful for both pilots, to perform at their best and ignite the competitive spirit in both.

With an outstanding performance, Philipp managed to complete all tasks in just 3.24 minutes!

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Finally, the real race!

Our pilot was the only one among the participants to correctly complete all 4 tasks in 5.06 minutes!

Once again, Adam’s Hand proved to be a robust and reliable support with: a device that becomes an integral part of the user. This is made possible by its ease of use, intuitive and fast control, and the thumb, positioned in three different positions (lateral, intermediate, and opposition), allows easy execution of all types of grips useful in everyday life.

Along with our device and our pilot, all our professionals, working in various departments of BionIT Labs, were essential in achieving this result.

Patients like Philipp and Salvatore are essential for the development and continuous improvement of Adam’s Hand, which has been designed from the outset to meet the specific needs of patients with limb differences.

We are truly proud of our achievement because once again we can ‘see firsthand’ how different skills, put at the service of innovation and technological progress, give rise to solutions that revolutionize the whole prosthetics industry, concretely turning disabilities into new possibilities!

Keep following us to stay updated on all the upcoming news and visit our website to learn more about our technology!

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