College Park’s Boston Digital Arm is an electric elbow that can also serve as a control platform for up to four additional upper-limb components. In other words, it can operate as the quarterback for above-the-elbow solutions.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the Boston Digital Arm
- Basic Mechanics and Control System
- Proportional Speed Control
- Wrist Design
- Lift Capacity & Strength
- Water and Dust Resistance
- User Software
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying a Boston Digital Arm
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the Boston Digital Arm
As is the case with most of the electric elbows we review, there are few recent videos, and the ones that do exist tend to focus on multi-component solutions.
The following video presents an impressive above-the-elbow solution involving the Boston Digital Arm, COAPT Pattern Recognition, Ossur’s i-Limb, and a Hi-Fi Socket. Note, especially, the excellent level of control in different arm positions:
Basic Mechanics and Control System
Here are the Boston Digital Arm’s basic mechanical and control features:
- The elbow can lift 4.5 kilograms, which may not sound that impressive but this is roughly five times the weight of the device.
- The elbow can go from full flexion to full extension in 1.2 seconds and can be automatically locked and unlocked, even while under load.
- The electronic control system can control the elbow joint plus four additional bionic components (wrist, hand, shoulder lock, etc.).
- The system can accept input signals from a variety of sources including myoelectric sensors, transducers, touchpads, and switches. Interestingly, these can be used in combination with each other to control its components independently or simultaneously.
- The system offers high-sensitivity myoelectric signal processing capabilities including the ability to manage signals for each channel/muscle and to eliminate unwanted noise.
- The system can also provide audible or vibratory feedback to confirm mode switching.
In short, the Boston Digital Arm supports a wide variety of control strategies. For example, it can use one input device to switch control from one bionic component to another while using myoelectric signals to control the current component.
Proportional Speed Control
The Boston Digital Arm fully supports proportional speed control.
The arm can use different wrist components depending on the selected bionic hand or terminal device.
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
The arm can lift 4.5 kilograms by flexing at the elbow. It also has a passive lift capacity of 20 kilograms.
According to its manufacturer, the Boston Digital Arm is “built tough enough to survive a fall”. However, if this happens, they recommend that you visit your prosthetist immediately after.
Aside from this, as with most bionic limb devices, the arm should be viewed as relatively fragile.
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Water and Dust Resistance
We have been unable to find an official IP rating for the arm.
The only statement that the manufacturer makes about water is: “Never allow your Digital Arm to be immersed in water. If your
prosthesis does become immersed in water, power it down and
remove it immediately and contact your prosthetist.”
It is our experience that when bionic limb manufacturers omit any claim of water or dust resistance, it generally means that the limb in question is not very resistant to either.
The Boston Digital Arm comes with two removable and interchangeable Lithium-Ion batteries. One battery should be sufficient to power the system for one day depending on usage and the number of other bionic components that are drawing power from the battery.
If one battery runs out of power, users can simply switch to the second battery.
Fully charging a drained battery requires about 75 minutes.
There is no user software available for the Boston Digital Arm. College Park does provide software to clinicians for setup and configuration.
Unfortunately, we do not yet have reliable information on the net cash price to the consumer for a typical solution involving the Boston Digital Arm.
If you have this information, please write us through our contact form.
The Boston Digital Arm comes with a standard two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
We know that users can pay to extend the warranty but we are yet certain of their exact options to do so.
We have also not been able to confirm the mandatory service obligations under the warranty, if any.
User Feedback Survey & Results
Are you or have you previously been a Boston Digital Arm user? If so, please share your insights with others looking at this arm as a possible prosthesis.
We do not yet have a sufficient number of survey participants to publish fair and accurate results for this device.
As soon as we do, we’ll update this section.
Considerations Before Buying the Boston Digital Arm
We have not yet formed an opinion on this digital arm. It certainly looks like a solid option for above-the-elbow limb solutions but until we get sufficient user feedback on it, we have nothing of value to add here.
For a list of competitive devices, see Current Options for Above-the-Elbow Bionic Arms.
For a comprehensive description of all current upper-limb technologies, devices, and research, see our complete guide.
Click here for more information on College Park.