On March 29th we took part in the Cybathlon Challenges 2023, testing the main features of the Adam’s Hand®: easy control, robustness, strength and speed of grip.
SPOILER: we are on the podium!
What is Cybathlon?
Cybathlon is a sport competition in which companies from all over the world, or teams of developers from universities together with people with motor disabilities, challenge each other using innovative prosthetic devices, in a timed circuit.
This race aims to promote the development of assistive technologies for people with disabilities and it’s part of the largest competition developed in 8 disciplines of the Cybathlon 2024, the third international edition to be held next October 2024.
Cybathlon Challenges 2023: the race
On March 29th 2023, several teams tested their assistive technologies through the 5 disciplines provided for the Cybathlon Challenges 2023: Arm Prosthesis Race, Wheelchair and Vision Assistance Races, Robot Assistance Race and Leg prosthesis Race.
The two tasks of the race and the activities that the athletes had to carry out, fall within what is indicated in the Race and Rules of the world edition of Cybathlon 2024, and our team competed against 7 other teams in the Arm Prosthesis Race category from France, Spain, United States , China and Indonesia.
The competition: bottles and clean sweep
The tasks accomplished by the pilots with their upper limb prostheses are to all intents and purposes everyday activities.
Task 1: bottles
In this task a series of bottles of different weights must be placed in a bottle crate, and the crate must then be carried to a table. At the table, the bottles must be removed from the crate and placed on the table.
Forces that act on the prosthesis during the manipulation of heavy objects can cause a displacement of the prosthetic socket relative to the arm stump.
In consequence the control signals recorded by traditional surface EMG can become unreliable leading to unsatisfactory function of the prosthesis.
Task 2: clean sweep
In this task, pilots are asked to grasp and move the objects individually with their prosthetic hand from their random, initial position on a table surface to a target position on a neighboring table.
A vast variety of objects of different shape, size, compliance, texture, and weight must be grasped and manipulated in everyday life.
The ability to cope with this diversity of requirements is challenged in this task.
Our pilot was Salvatore De Cillis, and he also is our ambassador: he follows the company from the very beginning and has provided us over time several useful feedback to improve Adam’s Hand®. Also thanks to him the Adam’s Hand is a device that’s totally custom-made for the patient.
Our co-pilot was Philipp Barluscke, born with agenesis and specialized in the creation of upper limb sockets, known thanks to the training activities carried out at Uniprox, who was also very enthusiastic about using Adam’s Hand and how it compares to other myoelectric prostheses he has used in the past.
But let’s take a step back!
We believe that the challenges, even when they are internal, are stimulating to perform at best, so we created a “home contest” between Salvatore and Philipp, deciding to name, as the first pilot, who would have achieved the best time result without failing any task.
Salvatore won the contest, because during the internal race he completed all the tasks in only 1.44. (1 second, less than the winner of the Arm race Cybathlon Challenges!).
The live event
What an amazing day for the BionIT Labs® team!
Not only because it was the first time we faced an international competition between upper limb devices, but we also had the opportunity to measure our ability to manage the event remotely from our headquarters.
During the race our Salvatore has played correctly both rounds, reaching the time of 02.58 in the first attempt and 02.08 in the second, and positioning, with great satisfaction of all of us on the podium, in third place, after the SIBET team that was ranked first, followed by the Swedish team e-OPRA.
During the race we used a device with the same characteristics as the product already on the market (that is, without any modification to adapt it to the specific race tasks), which therefore anyone can access today.
Videos like these are worth a thousand words, and concretely demonstrate how a multi-articulated device can be controlled in such an intuitive way that it seems an integral part of the user.
This is the change that we have always tried to bring about with Adam’s Hand and that we were able to find also during this sporting competition: the possibility of having all the advantages of a polyarticulated prosthesis (anthropomorphism, dexterity, opposable thumb) while obtaining an intuitive control, strength and speed usually typical of tridigital prostheses.
We are really happy and satisfied with the result obtained, which demonstrates how a motivated and competent team can really be able to develop revolutionary technologies that make our world a more inclusive place for everyone.