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Characterizing the Visuomotor Behaviour of Upper Limb Body-Powered Prosthesis Users

  • Author / Creator
    Boser, Quinn A
  • In recent years, significant research attention in the field of upper limb myoelectric prostheses has focused on improvements in control and integration of sensory feedback, which is hoped to reduce the visual attention and cognitive demand of operating these devices. However, there is currently no standard protocol for assessing the efficacy of these innovations by quantifying their impact on a user’s visuomotor behaviour. Furthermore, the visuomotor behaviour of individuals using prevailing upper limb prosthetic technologies (namely, body-powered prostheses) is not well understood. The primary objective of this thesis work was to characterize the visuomotor behaviour of a sample of body-powered prosthesis users to better understand current demands of traditional prostheses, as a future comparator to emerging prosthetic technologies. Five transradial body-powered prosthesis users and three transhumeral body-powered prosthesis users completed two functional upper limb tasks while their eye gaze behaviour and movement patterns were tracked using motion capture and eye-tracking technologies. Combined data from these systems was analyzed using a custom software tool that allowed for automatic and precise quantification of a number of outcome metrics relating to task performance, eye gaze behaviour, eye-hand coordination and quality of movement. Results for each body-powered prosthesis user were compared to a set of normative outcomes previously established under the same experimental protocol for twenty able-bodied individuals. Relative to the normative data set, trends in behaviour emerged across the body-powered prosthesis users. The body-powered prosthesis users consistently took longer to complete the tasks and exhibited decreased end effector movement quality, as evidence by increased numbers of movement units. The prosthesis users also tended to dedicate more visual attention to their terminal device, especially after picking up an object, and occasionally while reaching for an object. However, while transporting an object, they would eventually transition their gaze to the object drop-off location before their terminal device arrived there, and not glance back and forth between this target and their terminal device in flight. Despite similarity in behavioural trends across the body-powered prosthesis users, there was variability between them which revealed differences in skill level, strategies, and level of amputation. Differences between the two upper limb tasks also appeared to elicit different visuomotor behaviours and pose unique challenges for individuals with different levels of amputation. Further data collection is required to increase the sample size, and improve understanding of how the behaviour described in this thesis compares with other prosthesis user populations, such as myoelectric prosthesis users. However, these findings on the visuomotor behaviour of body-powered prosthesis users, and the technical development undertaken to accomplish this analysis, represent an important contribution. This work will be useful in assessing the efficacy of current and future innovations in upper limb prosthesis technology, which should in turn help to improve the state of technology available to individuals with upper limb loss.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-jf4r-9056
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.