Our Journey to Cybathalon

This October, teams from all over the world will gather in Zurich for the Cybathlon – and Barber Prosthetics Clinic will be there with them! The Cybathlon is an international robotic assistive technologies competition, which brings together the top researchers and inventors to showcase the latest developments in assistive technologies. One of our patients, Danny Letain, will be competing in the Powered Arm Prosthesis Race using a novel transradial prosthesis design.

While advanced hands are now available for people with upper extremity amputations, they way they are being controlled has not changed in decades. The newest hands are complex and allow the user to use a wide variety of grip patterns such as pinching with 2 fingers, making a fist, holding a key or clicking a mouse button. However, the control strategies really only open and close the hand in one position and accessing these different grips is unintuitive. Our goal is to allow the user to effortlessly switch from one grip pattern to the next in a natural way.

For the last year, Barber Prosthetics Clinic has been working with biomedical engineers and kinesiology researchers from the MENRVA Research Group at SFU to develop a novel way of controlling upper extremity prostheses. The research team from SFU has developed the electronics and sensors needed to control the hand however, they needed the clinical expertise of actually fitting it onto a patient and incorporating it into a prosthesis. That’s where we come in! We have spent the last year going through several prosthesis designs to determine the best way of incorporating this technology into our patient’s prostheses. And exciting things are happening!

Just last week the media caught wind of this and we were featured in several stories! Check out the videos below to learn more about what we’re doing! And, if you’re interested in getting involved in this project, see our crowdfunding page.

Stay tuned to our blog page for further developments in this exciting venture…our road to the Cybathlon! 

SFU article | CTV article