Myoelectric University (MyoU):  An Invaluable Training Resource for Upper Limb Clinicians 

As a new group of O&P attendees filled the classroom at Fillauer Motion Control in Salt Lake City there was an air of curiosity and excitement The Spring 2024 Myoelectric University session, or MyoU for short, was about to start. The course consists of three and a half days of intensive training in myoelectric upper limb fitting and configuration based on the Motion Control line of prosthetic devices, including presentations from partner companies COAPT and TASKA.  

The origins of the course began with the creation of the Utah Arm back in the mid-1970s. Harold Sears and Dr. Stephen C. Jacobsen, PhD, working with other engineers at an early version of the award-winning University of Utah Center for Biomedical Engineering, created one of the first commercially viable myoelectric elbows on the market. At the time electrode impulse-controlled devices like the Boston Arm and Utah Arm were brand new concepts, and there was high demand for training on the setup and use of the elbow on patients. 

Harold Sears took up the challenge, traveling with the backing of his newly founded company Motion Control, Inc. (1981). He made regular visits to universities and clinics across the United States, Canada, and Europe for over two decades carrying his Utah Arm along with him and impressing many of those early O&P students with this new high-tech device. It was a functional example of the steady technology growth that was being introduced to the prosthetic industry… and it was fun to see it in action.

Sears continued his traveling education work until around 2006 when he decided it would be more effective to have students visit Motion Control. By then the company had updated the Utah Arm design and developed additional products including ProControl, an electric wrist rotator, a multi-flex wrist, the Motion Hand, the ETD and the newly released Motion Foot. A new software UI had also been developed to control the Utah Arm and wrist settings, which required some in-depth training.

The new SuperCourse, as it was called at the time, was a 5-day course covering these new products along with fitting, harnessing, and software configurations. The course offered up to 34 ABC registered CEU credits to certified prosthetists as well as certification to fit the Utah Arm. It was rebranded in 2020 as Myoelectric University or MyoU for short, and currently provides in-depth training for the full line of Motion Control products. As a bonus, attendees are also trained on COAPT devices and receive certification to fit the TASKA Hand.

MyoU kicks off with a quick introduction to the invited patient models followed by hands-on instruction on casting challenges for the different types of transhumeral, transradial and shoulder disarticulation amputations. Students spend the morning in the lab creating their own limb-casts which will have check sockets built out for them overnight. The afternoon features classroom instruction on the product line and an introduction to the software UI.

“The software instruction was the most valuable part of the course for me. There is a lot there to learn and the instructors were helpful in explaining everything”

Day two is mostly in-class and includes a lunchtime presentation by COAPT covering their software features and settings. Typically, two or three of the prepared test sockets will be set up with COAPT for testing allowing for a thorough overview of the power of multi-site electrode placement and settings control. There is a troubleshooting module at the end of the day to test the student’s newly gained knowledge of the different systems and devices. Attendees then adjourn for a group dinner at a local restaurant for the chance to network and share ideas.  

On day three, patient models return for fitting which includes harnessing and socket adjustment. Students work directly with the patient models to get the best fit and function and receive direct feedback on the build. Students then have the chance to learn from instructors while they troubleshoot their designs. Course instructors offer advice throughout the day and students can share what they have learned from their particular type of build with the other students. The final half-day is typically reserved for TASKA certification and a wrap up of the course. 

“I enjoyed the course being small and hands on. I felt comfortable asking all of my questions. I’m more confident in upper extremity now.” 

Students who attend MyoU come from clinics and universities all over the world, bringing with them a variety of experiences in the field. Upper limb needs represent approximately 20% of the overall prosthetic practice in the United States which often limits upper limb exposure to practicing clinicians. This course offers these prosthetists the opportunity to work with new upper limb technology in a real-world setting and share ideas and techniques with industry colleagues and peers.  

The MyoU course is held twice a year typically in the spring and fall and allows up to 8 students per course. The course is free with the opportunity to earn CEU credits based on class time attended as well as Utah Arm and TASKA certifications. If you are interested in joining one of our future MyoU courses, you can check out the information on our website: 

Watch for the MyoU course to come to Fillauer Europe in the Fall 2024!


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