Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation (Jul 2022)

Benefits of the Cybathlon 2020 experience for a prosthetic hand user: a case study on the Hannes system

  • Giulia Caserta,
  • Nicolò Boccardo,
  • Marco Freddolini,
  • Giacinto Barresi,
  • Andrea Marinelli,
  • Michele Canepa,
  • Samuel Stedman,
  • Lorenzo Lombardi,
  • Matteo Laffranchi,
  • Emanuele Gruppioni,
  • Lorenzo De Michieli

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 19, no. 1
pp. 1 – 15


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Abstract Background Cybathlon championship aims at promoting the development of prosthetic and assistive devices capable to meet users’ needs. This paper describes and analyses possible exploitation outcomes of our team’s (REHAB TECH) experience into the Powered Arm Prosthesis Race of the Cybathlon 2020 Global Edition, with the novel prosthetic system Hannes. In detail, we present our analysis on a concurrent evaluation conducted to verify if the Cybathlon training and competition positively influenced pilot’s performance and human-technology integration with Hannes, with respect to a non-runner Hannes user. Methods Two transradial amputees were recruited as pilots (Pilot 1 and Pilot 2) for the Cybathlon competition and were given the polyarticulated myoelectric prosthetic hand Hannes. Due to COVID-19 emergency, only Pilot 1 was trained for the race. However, both pilots kept Hannes for Home Use for seven weeks. Before this period, they both participated to the evaluation of functionality, embodiment, and user experience (UX) related to Hannes, which they repeated at the end of the Home Use and right after the competition. We analysed Pilot 1’s training and race outcomes, as well as changes in the concurrent evaluation, and compared these results with Pilot 2’s ones. Results The Cybathlon training gradually improved Pilot 1’s performances, leading to the sixth place with a single error in task 5. In the parallel evaluation, both pilots had an overall improvement over time, whereas Pilot 2 experienced a deterioration of embodiment. In detail, Pilot 1, who followed the training and raced the Cybathlon, improved in greater way. Conclusion Hannes demonstrated to be a valuable competitor and to perform grasps with human-like behaviors. The higher improvements of Pilot 1, who actively participated in the Cybathlon, in terms of functionality, embodiment and UX, may depend on his training and engagement in the effort of achieving a successful user-prosthesis interaction during the competition. Tasks based on Cybathlon’s ones could improve the training phase of a prosthetic user, stimulating dexterity, prosthetic integration, and user perception towards the prosthesis. Likewise, timed races or competitions could facilitate and accelerate the learning phase, improving the efficiency and efficacy of the process.