Category

Upper Extremity

Randall Alley Hosts HiFi Overview Webinar 6/3

By | Lower Extremity, Prosthetics, Upper Extremity

Randall Alley, HiFi Interface Inventor, is asking prosthetists to look to science not art when creating interface designs. It is well documented that current socket designs are plagued by inherent issues causing instability, rotational issues, pistoning, falls, skin issues, excessive energy expenditure, and the inability for wearers to sit up straight. Randall will be highlighting the research and benefits of his HiFi Interface System technology, including improved comfort, function, stability, faster walking speeds, improved gait symmetry and more. No more “buckets.” Time to step up to a better design. Time to step up for better science. Time to step up for our patients.

Captain DuVal – First Amputee to Attend Special Forces Qualification Course

By | Biodesigns, HiFi, Military, Myoelectric, Prosthetics, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity

Captain Carey DuVal is an amazing example of someone who doesn’t let his amputation prevent him from achieving his goals. Captain DuVal is a transradial  (below elbow) amputee as result of a VBIED attack during combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2014. Captain DuVal has utilized biodesigns’ HiFi upper limb prosthetic socket since 2015 as Active Duty Combat Arms Officer.

Captain DuVal is the first amputee of any kind to be selected at the U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection while utilizing a prosthesis. He is also the first amputee to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course. At the Q-Course, DuVal had to complete all the physical challenges of his fellow soldiers proving with the proper “equipment” (interface system), he could pass all the physical requirements.  Captain DuVal credits the HiFi for allowing him to compete at his highest level. Congrats to Captain DuVal. You are a true hero.

 

 

biodesigns Delivers Advanced Arm During Corona Virus Outbreak

By | Biodesigns, biomechanics, HiFi, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity

biodesigns, in California, best known for their prosthetic interface/socket technology, recently delivered an advanced arm system during this unusual time as a result of the Corona Virus. “We consider our business vital to our patients and want them to know we are here for them,” stated Randall Alley, CEO, Chief Prosthetist for biodesigns. The system delivered included advanced technology including Alley’s patented and patents-pending HiFi interface design, Coapt Engineering’s Gen2 Pattern Recognition, College Park’s Espire Powered Elbow, and Motion Control’s Wrist Rotator and External Terminal Device (ETD2). The system will also be used with the user’s existing ilimb Quantum hand. biodesigns takes great pride in designing prosthetic systems that are appropriate for their users. “This user is long time wearer that has proven time and time again the many functional benefits he receives from his prostheses,” stated Alley.

 

biodesigns Awarded $1.5M Phase II and Option SBIR DARPA Contract

By | Prosthetics, Upper Extremity | No Comments

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – biodesigns, inc., Southern California, was awarded a $1.5M firm-fixed-price Phase II and Option Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract for the delivery of socket diagnostic tools for the manufacture and fitment of custom sockets for upper-limb prostheses.

Randall Alley, CEO and Chief Prosthetist for biodesigns, was a primary interface (socket) consultant for DEKA on their “LUKE” Arm, as part of DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program (RP2007), but this is biodesigns’ first DARPA contract.

DARPA’s call for the socket diagnostic tool innovation is a result of the challenges prosthetists face when designing the socket and suspension systems that hold prostheses on upper-limb amputees.

Variations among individuals introduce unique complexities that factor into fitting the socket, including muscle bundles, neuromas, bone spurs, skin conditions such as scars from burns and sores from infections and shear at the interfacial boundary.

As a result, the process of fitting sockets is currently a labor-intensive, manual approach. Current fitting techniques often yield sockets that are uncomfortable, unstable, or impede full range of motion, resulting in compromised device performance or election by the amputee to not use the prosthesis altogether.

To address these challenges, DARPA sought the development of innovative diagnostic tools to improve socket fittings and socket performance thus enabling prosthetists to more successfully and systematically deploy advanced upper extremity prosthetics, such as those developed by the DARPA RP programs.

The HiFi Interface™ and HiFi Imager™ System, created by Alley, is the platform technology for this contract and was also used in DEKA’s “Luke Arm” studies.

Intimate Connection to the Bone

The HiFi Interface with patented and patents-pending OsseoSynchronization™ technology is designed to replicate the stability achieved through direct connection to the bone that osseointegration surgery – the direct skeletal attachment of a prosthetic limb – provides. The HiFi is Alley’s non-invasive biomechanically-based socket solution that captures and controls the residual bone through an alternating compression and release design. “By displacing the soft tissue so there is less of a buffer between the bone and the interface wall in the compression zones, there is less unwanted motion of the bone. This reduced bone motion results in a much more dynamically responsive prosthesis that feels lighter, offers much greater stability and security, wastes less energy, and with the incredible proprioception it provides, patients also report feeling connected to their prosthesis,” Alley said.

A key to the success of Alley’s interface is his patented casting/scanning Imager which allows for the proper amount of compression in key areas but also allows patients the ability to provide feedback and help dictate their fit.

“We are excited and honored to be able to move forward with DARPA,” Alley said. “I have seen how our current HiFi system is already transforming amputees’ lives and we look forward to further advancements for our military and ultimately widespread use of this technology.”

Note: See the DEKA “LUKE” Arm in action with Alley’s X-Frame at www.youtube.com/biodesignsvideos

 

Back on the Ice: Innovative Socket Gets Arm Amputee Playing Hockey

By | Biodesigns, HiFi, Press Release / Media, Prosthetics, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – After nearly 30 years away from his passion, Andrew Carter has returned to ice hockey. The long-absence from the game wasn’t self-imposed for the 48-year-old. “I grew up playing on the street and organized leagues on ice until I was 14 when I lost my hand and wrist in an electrical accident,” he said. Fast forward from 1984 to 2013 and Carter found a way to get back on the ice through a prosthetic attachment that enables him to control the hockey stick, coupled with an innovative socket system that keeps his prosthesis not only snug and secure, but radically alters the way he plays his game — the HiFi™ Interface System created by Randall Alley, CEO and chief prosthetist of biodesigns inc., a prosthetic clinic and R&D facility.
“I was physically active all my life but I didn’t realize there were prosthetics that would stay on and perform in the way that the HiFi system does and also the hockey specific attachment made by Bob Rodocy from TRS Inc.,” Carter said. It was Radocy, who is also an arm amputee, who referred Carter to Alley, who is known for his extensive experience in upper-limb prosthetics and his commitment to superior biomechanics. Alley previously fit Radocy in a HiFi socket he uses for swimming and scuba.  With the HiFi, Carter was able to return to the ice for the first time since he was a teenager. “The HiFi makes me a much better player. It enables me to go out there and be competitive because of the way it perfectly captures every motion of my arm,” Carter said. Unlike most upper-extremity prostheses for heavy physical activity, this one does not have a series of straps and shoulder harnesses to hold it on. The four internal compression areas of the socket control the shaft of the underlying bone by gently displacing some soft tissue out of the way, causing the remaining soft tissue surrounding the bone to become denser.
“At a glance, it might look uncomfortable,” Carter said, “but it actually isn’t. There is virtually no movement inside the actual prosthesis. The usual give and take of soft tissue movements inside a normal prosthetic shell is completely gone, and that translates into a substantial increase in both power and accuracy. This is great for me and probably not so good for opposing goaltenders.” Carter’s return to the ice came after months of relearning how to stick handle, pass and shoot, practicing on dry land. “What the HiFi and TRS’s terminal device enabled me to do is to be able to get back out there and play. I don’t really think of it as a prosthesis; it’s an extension of me,” he said. Carter joined the Ice Angeles 8-Bits adult hockey team in 2014 and was instrumental as the 8-Bits swept the finals to become league champions in 2017. “Hockey has been my favorite sport for a long time so it’s been a really big deal for me to come back and play on the team and be in the locker room with my teammates,” he said.
Besides hockey playing, Carter is a regular at the gym, but found difficulty in holding weights and doing upper body exercises. “It’s very difficult with one hand to load your body evenly and do a great deal of upper body exercises, so I invented a device called the Carter Cuff to help me and other amputees or persons whose hand function is temporarily or permanently impaired. The Carter Cuff is an armband, which includes a number of reinforced D-Rings providing connection to exercise machines and free weights. An optional shoulder harness can be attached to the armband for additional stability. It allows the user with a disability to perform numerous exercises that would otherwise by impossible. The user can row, press, pull down, press down, curl, chop and perform suspension, barbell, dumbbell and kettle bell work, all while loading the body evenly.
“It’s become this really special second life that I couldn’t envision. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can do this. I’m lucky that I got referred to Randy by Bob. I got VIP treatment from the day I walked in there. Randy has been nothing but amazing!”

Learn more about the Carter Cuff. Click here.

Prosthetic sockets stabilized by alternating areas of tissue compression and release

By | Biodesigns, HiFi, Prosthetics, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity

Randall D. Alley, CP; T. Walley Williams III, MA; Matthew J. Albuquerque, CPO; David E. Altobelli, MD

biodesigns Inc, Westlake Village, CA; Liberating Technologies Inc, Holliston, MA; Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics Inc, Manchester, NH; DEKA Research and Development Corp, Manchester, NH

INTRODUCTION

Traditional upper-limb prosthetic sockets share certain problems. Most sockets simply contain the tissue of the remaining limb. Since a prosthetist produces them by slightly modifying casts taken by wrapping plaster bandages around the limb, the sockets are usually circular in cross section and thus encapsulate the limb. The advent of myoelectric control led to new socket designs. Transradial (TR) sockets were needed that would stabilize the location of the electrodes, and the Muenster and Northwestern sockets were introduced. These sockets are self- suspending but nonetheless still display a number of problems. They do not permit the user to fully flex or extend the elbow, they do not prevent lost motion between the bones of the remaining limb and the distal prosthetic structure during active lifting, and they do not load the bone uniformly but rather concentrate the load near the ends.

Myoelectric control also changed transhumeral (TH) sockets with the introduction of the Dynamic Socket. It has a low lateral trim line to prevent the lifting of the electrodes during the extremes of flexion and abduction. It also has anterior and posterior wings that stabilize the prosthesis against rotation around the long axis. Similarly, the X-frame socket has replaced the full con- tact socket for amputations at the shoulder level, because it permits the user to bend forward and to move the shoulder while maintaining good contact with electrodes. It also stabilizes the prosthesis against rotation at its superior and inferior borders and covers far less surface area of the thorax for increased heat dissipation. In this article, we review the evolution of these designs with additional references by Lake.

LONGITUDINAL DEPRESSIONS AND RELEASE AREAS DEFINE COMPRESSION/RELEASE STABILIZED SOCKET

This article will introduce improved sockets for persons with TR, TH, and transfemoral (TF) amputations created with longitudinal depressions added in the socket walls with open release areas between the depressions that receive the displaced tissue. When the depressions and release areas are correctly located, they reduce motion of the underlying bony structures with respect to both the socket and the rest of the prosthesis. One can define the depressions and releases during cast-taking but only by radically changing the way casts are taken.

Traditionally, the prosthetist uses a plaster wrap to define the shape of the remaining limb. The typical plas- ter wrap results in a shell that is almost circular in cross section throughout most of its length. When the shell is filled with plaster, the prosthetist modifies the resulting positive model before creating a socket over it by laminating or by thermoforming plastic. The prosthetist then adds extra plaster to the model to create space in the socket to accommodate bony prominences and removes the plaster to tighten up the fit. The experienced prosthetist can speed up the rectification process by contouring the original cast while it is setting.

Creating a compression/release stabilized (CRS) socket requires one to apply selective pressure during cast-taking, but this pressure must be applied in a specific way. A definition of terms will help the reader to follow the discussion. We only briefly summarize the casting process here, because prosthetists must be fully trained and certified in the application of this design such that patients are not harmed because of an incomplete understanding of the process.

If during the cast-taking, the technician pushes inward toward the bone, he or she will create a depression in the resulting cast. When the depressed area is parallel to the length of the underlying bone, it will appear as a channel or longitudinal depression. Further use of the word depression in this article will describe any shape created by pushing inward and use of longitudinal depression will describe long depressions parallel to the bones underneath. If one pushes a substantial area inward while holding the limb of the amputee, this action will displace tissue in other areas outward to form bulges. When the cast is taken, the stretched plaster wrap over these bulges still applies some inward force. For a CRS socket to perform correctly, these areas should have little or no inward force where the tis- sues bulge. After all remaining force is removed between the longitudinal depressions, the areas between are called release areas. After we discuss the physics underlying the operation of a CRS socket in this article, we will briefly illustrate how each of the three socket designs (TH, TF, and TR) can be created using the plaster cast technique. The unique features of these sockets are the longitudinal depressions and the release areas. The release areas are critical to the functioning of this new socket design.

 

 

 

biodesigns Delivers World’s Most Advanced Arm During CA Fires

By | Press Release / Media, Upper Extremity

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Nov. 15, 2018 — biodesigns, inc., Southern California, delivers the “Luke Arm” to amputee during the recent fires that hit Westlake Village.

Amidst the fires and evacuations that recently hit Westlake Village and surrounding areas, amputee Brian Roberson is one of a few individuals to receive the world’s most advanced upper limb prosthetic system – the modular, bionic Luke Arm and X-Frame Interface.

The Luke Arm, manufactured and distributed by Mobius Bionics LLC of New Hampshire, provides advanced features and capabilities including state-of-the-art flexibility, strength and dexterity. The Luke Arm is the result of 10 years of development by a team led by Dean Kamen’s company DEKA Research & Development, as part of DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program (RP2007).

Randall Alley, CEO and Chief Prosthetist for biodesigns, Westlake Village, was a primary interface (socket) consultant previously engaged by DEKA on the Luke Arm RP2007 project to assist with the user attachment strategy. Alley, knowing traditional socket approaches would yield inferior results and arm rejections, brought his innovative High-Fidelity and X-Frame interface designs to the program. His success with the Luke Arm system eventually led biodesigns to their own DARPA SBIR contract and now biodesigns is one of a few companies in the world authorized to fit this advanced bionic arm.

“At biodesigns we have an intense focus on socket/interface biomechanics and how it relates to user acceptance and user performance with their prosthetic system(s). While the prosthetic industry has seen incredible advancements in components, it has not only lacked progress in socket technology, it has all but ignored the critical role of the interface in ensuring wearer success. The sockets being used by most prosthetists today are decades old and have been plagued with numerous issues. As the components become more advanced, the interface or connection platform becomes vitally important. Our goal is to continue to develop innovative, non-surgical attachment approaches focused on achieving superior user comfort, stability, connectivity, and the ultimate goal – device embodiment,” stated Alley.

Brian, who is currently living out-of-state, traveled to biodesigns in CA due to their unique interface expertise, experience and success fitting this advanced arm system.

“I have experienced a lot these last few days but am very happy to be back at biodesigns office practicing with this new arm,” stated Brian Roberson.  As a machinist, this new arm will allow me to go back to work and help me regain my life back.”

About biodesigns inc.

Southern California-based biodesigns, inc. is a technology-driven prosthetics company specializing in the most advanced patient care, research and product development for individuals who have experienced upper and lower limb loss. The company’s approach utilizes innovative clinical techniques and the most biomechanically advanced prosthetic interface systems available, including the High-Fidelity Interface and Imager System. biodesigns works with upper and lower limb wearers of all ages and activity levels, but also provides interface/socket trainings and licensing to other prosthetists as well as consulting services in and outside the field of prosthetics.

Quadruple Amputee Lives Life To The Fullest

By | Biodesigns, HiFi, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity | No Comments

Aimee Copeland Describes Her HiFi’s

“I was in traditional sockets previous to the HiFi and they felt bulky, loose and heavy. In my new HiFi, my prostheses feel connected to me, like they are a part of my body,” Aimee said. “They feel lighter, more comfortable, secure, and I forget they are there.”
Download Full Release Here

Julie Alley, President, Chief Marketing Officer

Jalley@biodesigns.com

o/c: 310-717-1024

Randall Alley and The High-Fidelity Interface System have been featured in national media. Contact us to learn more.

Jason’s Bionic Arm – HiFi Interface, Coapt, LTI Elbow, I-Limb Hand

By | Biodesigns, biomechanics, HiFi, ilimb, Myoelectric, Prosthetics, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity
“There is definitely a preconceived notion that a body-powered system is lighter, but with this HiFi socket it makes the arm feel just as light as body-powered. There is more stability across the entire length of the arm. There are no pinch points, way more degrees of freedom, more responsive, better connection to all the sensors.”

 

Biomechanical Design Considerations for Transradial Prosthetic Interface: A Review

By | Biodesigns, biomechanics, HiFi, Prosthetics, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity

DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program

By | Biodesigns, DARPA, HiFi, Military, Myoelectric, Press Release / Media, Prosthetics, Socket Technology, Upper Extremity

Randall Alley served as DEKA’s  interface consultant on the LUKE Arm project. With Alley’s socket technology, patients went from rejection of the bionic arm due to its weight to enthusiastic acceptance. Chuck, a bilateral upper limb study participant, stated the “HiFi is the best invention in 100 years.” Featured here is Ryan testing the Gen3 LUKE Arm with Alley’s XFrame.

First Threadless Valves for Suction Sockets Sold to Otto Bock Healthcare

By | Biodesigns, Lower Extremity, ottobock, Prosthetics, Upper Extremity
Randall Alley, BSc, CP, owner of biodesigns inc., Westlake Village, California, announced that the PushValve and MagValve, two threadless auto-expulsion valves for upper- and lower-extremity prosthetic suction sockets, have been sold to Otto Bock Healthcare, headquartered in Duderstadt, Germany.

Alley conceived the threadless valve concept, and with the help of tranfemoral amputee Adam Soss and engineer Dustin Bouch, created the world’s first threadless valve family for preparatory and definitive suction socket applications.

“Many of today’s valve designs haven’t changed significantly in their approach to providing suction suspension since they were conceived decades ago,” said Alley. “I wanted to create a valve that was an improvement over existing valves and ultimately one that is easier for patients to use–hence the idea for a threadless design.”

The PushValve is a latching, threadless auto-expulsion valve designed primarily for above-knee suction socket applications, Alley explained. The lower-profile MagValve is a magnetic threadless auto-expulsion valve suitable for both upper- and lower-extremity suction sockets.

“The main advantage of the threadless valve design is that it does not require any twisting, but instead can quickly and effortlessly push in and pull out,” according to a company statement. “In addition, audible feedback lets a patient know they are properly seated and secure: they just click into place. No special tools are required for tightening/loosening, and there is no threat of pulling hairs. The valves are also ideal for bilateral amputees and individuals with hand involvement who wouldn’t be able to easily manage existing screw-in valves. Both valves are also perfect for active individuals who have a need for speed.”

To purchase the valves for your patients’ prosthetic sockets visit ottobocks website.  https://shop.ottobock.us/Prosthetics/Lower-Limb-Prosthetics/Socket-Technologies-Liners/Valves/c/1606