(Click Photo above to see a video of Tucker using the Cyborg Beast to eat and drink with!)
Tucker is 12 years old and has a very small left palm with some mobility.
His mom, Tara, emailed Dr. Jorge Zuniga, (an e-NABLE member and professor at Creighton University) in February regarding Tucker’s participation in their research study. In March they visited the lab and in April they received the mechanical hand developed by Dr. Zuniga’s team.
Due to his small palm, Tucker had difficulties closing the device (our current designs require a palm and a wrist to push against the device to make the fingers open and close) , so the Creighton Team had their hand therapist, Jean Peck, developed a capsule for the small palm that would increase his lever arm and thus help him to close the device effectively.
For some cases when the affected hand has a very small palm, it may be necessary to build a “capsule” or insert inside of the hand gauntlet to increase the lever arm. This may add bulk to the palm of the hand, but that is OK. The idea is to provide the child with a good fit, so he/she can improve his/her motor control. Once the user finds out how to flex the wrist using the mechanical hand they may increase their range of motion and strength.
In a few weeks Tucker and his mom (who is also an engineer) found a way to make this device functional and satisfy their needs. Tucker is now currently using the device without the capsule!
It is too early to tell, but it seems that the motor control gained while using the Cyborg Beast may have increase Tucker’s ability to activate the muscles required to activate this device. Dr. Zuniga and the team are drawing these conclusions based on the fact that Tucker is no longer using the capsule attachment and they are also testing if this greater motor control (awaking of the unused muscle fibers) would result in greater muscle activation (recruitment and firing rate) and increases in range of motion.
There are so many questions to be answered!
Testing and research continue at Creighton University and we will share more updates and exciting news soon!