Factory of superheroes

What associations do you have with the word "prosthesis"? Disabilities. Mannequins, probably. But what if we tell you that a prosthesis is an integral component of a cyber-human?
What associations do you have with the word "prosthesis"? Disabilities. Mannequins, probably. But what if we tell you that a prosthesis is an integral component of a cyber-human?

A prosthesis is the result of research and development work, just like many other devices that we are used to. We produce two types of prostheses: the active and the bioelectric ones. CYBI active prosthesis is based on flexion and extension of the joints. INDY bionic prosthesis is based on electrodes reading electric potential from stump muscles at the moment of their contraction. Information from the sensors is transmitted to the microprocessor of the wrist and through computer algorithms is transformed into motor commands. As a result, the prosthesis performs clenching and unclenching in one or half a second.

CYBI active prosthesis weight is from 200 to 500 grams, and INDY bioelectric prosthesis weight is from 500 to 1 500 grams. They cannot be made very light: the weight of the prosthesis should match the weight of the arm in order to compensate for the other arm's weight. Our prosthetic hands are designed and manufactured according to individual measurements using 3D printing. In the prosthesis there is an adjustable fastener for secure fixation, a cultured receiving sleeve made of hypoallergenic plastic, and fastening for various attachments.

We produce prostheses for both adults and children, so we supplement them with not only smart watches and action cameras, but also laser pointers, attachments for quadcopters and even augmented reality devices. Imagine that, using a prosthesis, you can save the Earth from aliens or fight against zombies, simply by attaching an augmented reality device that supports Bluetooth. A very simple, but important attachment is a jump rope, because a child without an arm would never try it out otherwise!

The bionic prosthesis functionality is even broader. Our developers supplement the prosthesis with both PayPass technology and a flexible E-Ink display with which you can monitor, for example, time, date, battery level, pulse, temperature on the body surface and inside the sleeve.

One of the main features of our prostheses is individual design. The future user chooses its shape, color and the picture that may be drawn on it. We know all the characters of modern cartoons, even their eye colors. As something new comes out, we immediately watch it, because the next day parents will want to order a child prosthesis with a logo or an image of these characters.
When a child wearing our prosthesis comes to a kindergarten, other children usually show interest towards the shiny gadget. It is hard to resist such a noticeable device, especially with, say, someone like Spider-Man pictured on it. The children get interested in how the prosthesis works and what can one do with it. If the prosthesis breaks in the process or its paint gets stripped, we take the device in for the warranty repair. Such cases are useful for us, as they help to improve our products.
Proper care of prostheses is important. Parts in contact with skin must be cleaned with disinfectants. The sleeve needs to be changed if there is an unpleasant smell, something started to rub the skin or does not touch it anymore. A bioelectric prosthesis is a little more difficult: it needs to be charged, too. Depending on the user's activity, the battery charge lasts from one day to two weeks. Usually, the prosthesis is charged every 2-3 days.

The field of prosthetics, especially bioelectric ones, is one of the most difficult things in the world of biotechnology at this moment. The main difficulty in designing prostheses is to combine small weight and size and sufficient rapidity in one device. In the construction of prostheses we use gearmotors, which are also used in space technology. Today, there are only two manufacturers of such components, and the delivery time is several months. Therefore, development process is delayed and it is difficult to quickly enter the market with a competitive product. We have traveled this path, and so far we remain the only Russian developers with a complete cycle of production: from the very idea to the production, installation and full use by our clients.

In the near future, Motorica plans to put into operation all versions of upper limb prostheses. In 5-7 years we plan to start producing lower limb prostheses and applying invasive prosthetic technologies. Prostheses in terms of functionality are still far from the capabilities of human arms. This is due to various reasons, including the lack of some components. Now we aim to create prostheses that will not only be equal to real human arms, but will also surpass them.
  • Alina Kuzyakina
    Rehabilitation doctor
    It is located next to the patient at all stages of prosthetics and tries, so that each of the little heroes will get used to his superpower
Works mainly with young patients. Before a child starts wearing a bionic prosthesis, it is very important for them to first wear an active prosthesis. After this period, the child is ready for "bionics". As a rule, before installing the prosthesis, the patient and his family come to us at Motorica for the electromyography. It is a diagnostic method aimed to evaluate the bioelectric activity of the muscles. A bracelet with integrated sensors that determine the ability of muscle contraction is put on the patient's arm. It is their bioelectric potential that is used to control the prosthesis. At this stage, it is determined whether the existing potential is sufficient for the work of the bionic arm.

We often face situations in which the strength of muscles and their electrical excitability are insufficient for receiving a signal. Then the whole team is looking for alternative ways to control the prosthesis: engineers are working on the ability to locate sensors in places other than the standard design, and I create an individual set of exercises for the user. But even this can not give an absolute guarantee of the "start" of the necessary muscles work. The human body is individual, and it is difficult to predict its reaction. Our task is to make every effort so that prosthetics are possible, to improve the patient's functional abilities and make their life at least a little better.

If, according to electromyography, the potential of the muscles is sufficient, then the prosthesis creation begins. If not, then we need time - a month or one and a half while the patient performs a home set of exercises. Then another electromyography is performed. And only then we may proceed to prosthetics.

We often see children who, unfortunately, already had a bad experience in prosthetics. From parents, we often hear that the child was crying and trying to escape when the prosthesis was installed. You will recognize such children from the doorway: as soon as they understand where they are, they begin to cry and refuse to make contact. Our team considers it necessary to find an approach to each child so that they are not afraid of the prosthetist, were interested in the process and remained in a comfortable atmosphere during our stay. If you need to watch cartoons, play ball, assemble a construction toy or go racing on scooters, we are ready to spend time and effort on these activities. The main thing is that the child does not cry and feel fear. You can not leave negative memories of the first acquaintance with the prosthesis, because then the child is unlikely to want to wear and use it. Finding an approach to the little patient is very important: it directly influences the result of the long and intensive work of the entire prosthesis team.
After the installation of the prosthesis, a period of adaptation begins, because even the most positive changes in life need to get used to. A patient who has recently been injured, gets used to the prosthesis faster than the one who had no arm since birth. As a rule, such people are completely independent and have learned how to use the resources that they have, so they easily do everything with one hand. It is good for their self-esteem and socialization. But we, as doctors, understand that if a person uses only one side of the body, then the rest of the body reacts to it. For example, the posture is poor, pains occur in the back with age, fatigue increases. Therefore, one of our main responsibilities is to motivate the patient to use the prosthesis.

We recommend early prosthetics, as teenagers often come to us with already formed compensations such as changes in posture and muscular strength. In most cases, they can not be completely corrected. However, it is easier to motivate adolescents if they themselves, of course, wanted a prosthesis, but did not come, because "the parents told to". With kids, almost everything depends on the parents. We explain to them how to motivate a child, what to do if they cry, and in what activities should they engage with them while using the prosthesis. Our team tries to stay close at all stages of prosthetics and after it, to support both young patients and their parents with advice, as well as adult cyberheroes.
  • Dmitry Koshechkin
    The ambassador of Motorica company and the user of the prosthesis
    It is located next to the patient at all stages of prosthetics and tries, so that each of the little heroes will get used to his superpower
"I've struggled with the disease for two years, tried to save my hand, but I could not do it. I did not lose my combative mood. When the arm was amputated and the stump remained, the surrounding people began to look weirdly at me and even avoid me. And since I am an active person and often go to parks, to cafes, I was surrounded with attention during this period. Gradually, it started to bother me that people turn around, point fingers at me. It's one thing if I were an alien, but I'm the same as them. I had to learn to love myself: to look in the mirror and say that I accept myself and want other people to do this. In getting used to something new and in explaining to those around me that I am normal, art helped me a lot. I started a blog and wrote on deep philosophical topics.

They didn't immediately install the prosthesis to me: first they removed the splint and let the stump heal, because the hand was still swollen. In addition, it takes time for the body to understand what happened. And only after that it was possible to take measurements for prosthetics. So, I began to wear a prosthesis 3 months after amputation. Everything changed at once: first it was "oh, what a weird disabled man", and them it became "wow, what a cyborg". I was inspired, because my shortcomings turned into advantages.

For 10 months now I have been walking with a prosthesis and every day I work on myself. In everyday life, I use an active prosthesis, but there is a second bionic one in reserve. Now they are making a sports prosthesis for me to participate in competitions - a cybathlon in Germany and cyberathletics competition in Russia. This is something similar to the Paralympics, the only difference is that the athlete has cool devices. You can use a variety of robotic sets, such as neurohelmets. Championships are held in the "Formula 1": both pilots who wear equipment, and the manufacturing companies are competing. I am just such a pilot in the Motorica team.

In these competitions, disciplines are divided into categories depending on the number of amputations and their location (legs or arms). Before participating you must send an application and pass the test. Tasks for athletes are completely different: for example, put the hangers on or tie shoelaces in time. Now they introduce a new discipline with the connection of the neural interface. With the help of a neuromask, completely paralyzed people control hyperspaces and compete for speed.

I am often asked a very strange question: "Does a prosthesis replace a regular hand?" Of course not. But the essence is different: there is a dilemma - either without it, or with it. It is better to walk with a prosthesis than without a hand. If a person has accepted themselves as they are, this is only a small step. You need to take risks and improve, and technological progress contributes to the brave ones. And now, when I, for example, go on a bus, people watch with interest and admiration. I took a chance once and opened up a world of possibilities. "