The Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) was examined for its feasibility and usability as an advanced, dexterous upper extremity prosthesis with surface electromyography (sEMG) control in with two individuals with below-elbow amputations. Compared to currently marketed prostheses, the MPL has a greater number of sequential and simultaneous degrees of motion, as well as wrist modularity, haptic feedback, and individual digit control. The MPL was successfully fit to a 33-year-old with a trans-radial amputation (TR01) and a 30-year-old with a wrist disarticulation amputation (TR02). To preserve anatomical limb length, we adjusted the powered degrees of freedom of wrist motion between users. Motor training began with practicing sEMG and pattern recognition control within the virtual integration environment (VIE). Prosthetic training sessions then allowed participants to complete a variety of activities of daily living with the MPL. Training and Motion Control Accuracy scores quantified their ability to consistently train and execute unique muscle-to-motion contraction patterns. Each user also completed one prosthetic functional metric—the Southampton Hand Assessment Procedure (SHAP) for TR01 and the Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test (JHFT) for TR02. Haptic feedback capabilities were integrated for TR01. TR01 achieved 95% accuracy at 84% of his VIE sessions. He demonstrated improved scores over a year of prosthetic training sessions, ultimately achieving simultaneous control of 13 of the 17 (76%) attempted motions. His performance on the SHAP improved from baseline to final assessment with an increase in number of tasks achieved. TR01 also used vibrotactile sensors to successfully discriminate between hard and soft objects being grasped by the MPL hand. TR02 demonstrated 95% accuracy at 79% of his VIE sessions. He demonstrated improved scores over months of prosthetic training sessions, however there was a significant drop in scores initially following a mid-study pause in testing. He ultimately achieved simultaneous control of all 13 attempted powered motions, and both attempted passive motions. He completed 5 of the 7 (71%) JHFT tasks within the testing time limit. These case studies confirm that it is possible to use non-invasive motor control to increase functional outcomes with individuals with below-elbow amputation and will help to guide future myoelectric prosthetic studies.
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