Ottobock’s ErgoArm comes in four different models. Two of these — the ErgoArm Hybrid Plus and ErgoArm Electronic Plus — are compatible with bionic hands.
What’s On This Page?
- A Quick Look at the ErgoArm
- Basic Mechanics and Control System
- Proportional Speed Control
- Wrist Design
- Lift Capacity & Strength
- Water and Dust Resistance
- User Software
- Clinical Insights
- User Feedback Survey & Results
- Considerations Before Buying an ErgoArm
- Related Information
A Quick Look at the ErgoArm
To clarify, Ottobock’s ErgoArm is not a true bionic device. Two of its variations —the ErgoArm and ErgoArm Plus — are strictly mechanical devices that can only be used with passive or body-powered hands.
Of the two variations examined in this article, the ErgoArm Hybrid Plus is a mechanical elbow that can be connected to a bionic hand, i.e. it essentially allows for pass-through myoelectric control of a bionic hand or another bionic terminal device.
The ErgoArm Electronic Plus allows for electronic control of the elbow’s lock and its slip-stop function, which allows the user to lower the forearm in a controlled manner even while under load.
Unfortunately, we cannot find videos of either device. In fact, this article is going to be fairly barren by our standards. We are mainly writing it because we want our readers to know that these elbows are options as components in an above-the-elbow bionic solution.
Basic Mechanics and Control System
To raise the forearm (i.e. flex the elbow), users pull a flexion cable.
With the ErgoArm Electronic Plus, the elbow can be locked or unlocked using myoelectric signals. The slip-stop function can also be controlled using myoelectric signals. When lowering the forearm this way, the elbow automatically unlocks at the start of the myoelectric signal and re-engages when the signal stops.
Proportional Speed Control
Because the elbow itself is not motor-driven, proportional speed control does not apply.
The ErgoArm Hybrid Plus and ErgoArm Electronic Plus can both be paired with one of several mechanical or electric wrist rotators.
Lift Capacity & Grip Strength
The elbow’s lock can bear a load of up to 51 lbs of force. If overloaded, it will release to prevent breakage.
Ottobock’s patient use guide states, “The product was developed for everyday use and must not be used for unusual activities. These unusual activities include, for example, sports with excessive strain and/or shocks to the wrist joint (pushups, downhill racing, mountain biking, …) or extreme sports (free climbing, paragliding, etc.).”
Other than this, we cannot find any specific statements about the ErgoArm’s durability.
Water and Dust Resistance
Ottobock’s patient use guide explicitly states the ErgoArm should not be exposed to dripping or splashing water, and that it must be protected from both solid particles and liquids.
The ErgoArm is clearly not intended to operate in wet or dirty environments.
We have been unable to find the specific battery capacity and recharge times for the ErgoArm.
Ottobock only states that a fully charged battery should be sufficient for one full day and that a battery should be charged for at least three hours before its initial use.
To our knowledge, there is no user software available for the ErgoArm. Ottobock does provide software to clinicians for setup and configuration.
Unfortunately, we do not have reliable information on the net cash price to the consumer for the ErgoArm.
If you have more information, please write us through our contact form.
We believe that the ErgoArm comes with a standard 24-month manufacturer’s warranty and that users can purchase additional warranty coverage, but we’ve been unable to verify this in the official documentation.
We have submitted this question to Ottobock and will update this section as soon as we get a response.
The following comments are from clinicians with extensive experience with the ErgoArm:
User Feedback Survey & Results
Are you or have you previously been an ErgoArm user? If so, please share your insights with others looking at the ErgoArm as a possible component in an above-the-elbow solution.
We do not yet have a sufficient number of survey participants to publish fair and accurate results for the ErgoArm.
As soon as we do, we’ll update this section.
Considerations Before Buying the ErgoArm
We have not yet formed an opinion of the ErgoArm and are unlikely to do so until we get sufficient user feedback on the device.
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 Ottobock.