Speaker: FLAG system offers grasp enhancement for electronic terminal devices

NEW ORLEANS — A new system for electronic terminal devices allows upper limb amputees to grasp differently, according to a speaker, here.

Harold Sears, PhD, discussed the implications of the Force Limiting Auto Grasp, or FLAG, at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium.


Harold Sears


The FLAG was created by Sears and colleagues at Motion Control Inc. – a division of Fillauer Inc. – to allow amputees to grasp items delicately with a high-strength myoelectric hand rather than crushing or pinching items. The device’s creators also wanted to prevent accidental opening of the hand due to the electrode losing contact. The device detects socket or electrode “slip” and automatically increases grip force and is currently available for the MC Electric Terminal Device (ETD) and MC Hand.

Sears said a wearer can turn FLAG on and off when desired with a simple motion.

“We wanted it to be very simple to activate by the wearer. The wearer simply holds the device open for 3 seconds consecutively – and that is an adjustable time, due to our recent introduction of a user interface – and a buzz follows.”

The same 3-second “hold open time” will turn the device off, and the wearer will be alerted with a double buzz that FLAG is deactivated.

Sears said some early user feedback has created changes in the system – for example, the buzz replaced a loud beeping noise and glove and shell variations are now accommodated. Sears and colleagues hope the new user interface will improve patient satisfaction, allowing patients to customize the device to their preferences. – by Amanda Alexander


Sears H. Force limiting auto grasp (FLAG)-enhancing function of electric terminal devices. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium; Feb. 18-21, 2015; New Orleans.

Disclosure: Sears is an employee of Motion Control Inc.


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