'Assist as needed'

Darwing, the dynamic arm support, has been developed for people who have some grip function, but only minimal muscle strength in their arms. This may be caused by a muscular disease such as Duchenne or Steinert disease, by a spinal cord injury or by a progressive neurological disorder.

Darwing users experience significant limitations in their arm and hand functions, making it challenging for them to perform everyday activities such as independently lifting objects or engaging in personal care. For example, they are no longer able to prepare their own meals, eat or drink. Shaving or combing will be difficult. Or they are unable to shake hands with people.

In many instances, the existing arm supports will not be sufficient for the Darwing user. It is nevertheless desirable to continue using one’s own arms for as long as possible. The superior functionality of Darwing now provides a solution. This is not only cost effective, but also beneficial to self-esteem and health. For as long and as much as possible, one’s own postural and musculoskeletal system are relied on. Darwing provides the additional strength needed to reach, but not more than that. Darwing fully adheres to the principle of 'assist as needed'.

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The natural freedom of movement

Darwing offers support when performing countless everyday activities, such as eating, drinking, brushing one’s teeth, typing or scratching one’s nose. Independently lifting objects and engaging in personal care will become possible again with Darwing. Using Darwing is simple. The arm is placed in the forearm splint, without the need for it to be secured in any way. Darwing operates on the basis of compensation of the weight of the arm. This is called 'balancing the arm'. Movement in all directions hardly requires any effort anymore. Darwing returns the natural freedom of movement to the user.

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Eating

For people with a muscle disorder, eating is one of the most difficult activities. This is because the hand needs to perform a difficult movement from the plate to the mouth. Darwing adapts the degree of weight compensation to the position of the arm. The effect of this is that the user experiences the same force when he lifts the arm to his mouth as when he holds the arm in a lower position. Darwing makes it possible to freely perform extremely delicate arm movements, making the partaking in a meal so much more enjoyable.

 



Making telephone calls

Certain activities require extra stability. This is the case, for example, when making a telephone call, because the arm needs to be held in the same position for an extended time. The user can fix the Darwing in place by means of the position lock. This makes telephone calls a relaxing activity.

 



Typing

Low muscle strength impedes moving the arm during typing. Uncontrolled movements pave the way to mistakes. In addition, it requires great effort to use a mouse. Darwing allows the user to let his arm hover above the keyboard. The user regains control over the mouse and the number of mistakes is reduced.

 



Reaching far

Darwing is capable of making substantial movements backwards and forwards, as well as up and down. Darwing also permits large lateral movements. Furthermore, it features a mechanism to bring the shoulder forward, thus enabling maximum reach. The range within which movement is possible with Darwing is exceptionally big.

 



Personal care

Everyone likes to be able to attend to their own personal care, like shaving, brushing one’s teeth or applying make-up. With an arm support, this can be tricky since different objects need to be picked up in rapid succession. The objects have different weights and therefore continually require adjustments in the weight compensation. Adjusting the weight compensation at any time is easy with Darwing, allowing the user to perform different tasks in rapid succession.

 



Compact design

Users of other arm support models are often plagued by the suspension mechanism of the forearm splint. The suspension mechanism impedes reaching across a table, or gets in the way. Darwing has an extremely compact forearm splint that takes up virtually no space and does not interfere with movement. In addition, Darwing has been designed in such a way that it does not occupy extra space on a wheelchair, since that may be inconvenient when passing through a doorway.

 

Technology

Darwing operates on the basis of compensation of the weight of the arm. This is called 'balancing the arm'. Consequently, movement in all directions requires hardly any strength anymore. Darwing does this in a much more intelligent way than other arm supports. But that’s not all. Darwing is an arm support that allows the user to himself make adjustments with regard to the degree of compensation and all kinds of other settings. For this purpose, Darwing features a small display with joystick control.

Six technological innovations return a natural freedom of movement to the user:

 


 



 

Double balancing mechanism

The upper arm and the forearm are being supported independently from each other.

The division of an arm into a forearm and an upper arm is reflected in Darwing. The patented double balancing mechanism ensures that the upper arm and forearm are being supported independently from each other. Movements by the forearm are not transmitted through the upper arm. And movements by the upper arm do not interfere with the forearm. This greatly contributes to the sense of natural movement.

 

 
 



 

Position-dependent weight compensation

The degree of weight compensation depends on the position of the arm

The functioning of the arm support relies on the compensation of the arm’s own weight. Therefore, the arm seems to be floating and will be very easy to move. A stretched-out arm requires different supportive forces than a bent arm. If you carry a bucket while your arm is straight down, for example, you can keep doing so for quite a while. If you carry the same bucket while your arm is stretched-out, however, it will quickly become very heavy. Darwing takes the position of the arm into account and adapts to it. As a consequence, the support is extremely even.
 
 



 

Carrying angle stabiliser

Optimal balancing angle in all circumstances, automatically or manually

Users frequently feel a need to change their sitting position or are riding on uneven terrain. In such situations, an arm support can no longer optimally balance the arm. The carrying angle stabiliser makes certain that the arm support remains in a horizontal position, allowing the arm to keep functioning optimally. Darwing does this automatically, by continuously measuring the position relative to the earth. Furthermore, when engaging in certain activities the user may benefit from a different carrying angle than normal. In such cases, he can very easily adjust the carrying angle himself.
 
 



 

Task-specific support

The user can adjust the support himself to suit the need of the moment

Some daily activities require a slightly different weight compensation. And if different objects are kept in the hand or the weight of the clothing changes, the arm support needs to adjust to this. Darwing does not require the use of an Allen key to make adjustments. The user can himself make adjustments in the compensation at any time. This is easily achieved by means of a small display with joystick control.
 
 



 

Activities memory

Settings for recurring activities can be stored in the memory

Recurring activities, such as eating, drinking or using a computer mouse, all have their own optimal settings. By means of the activities memory, the user is able to easily store these settings. When the user is going to eat, he activates the ideal settings for eating by pushing a button. The activities memory stores weight compensation settings for the upper arm, the forearm and the carrying angle stabiliser. The memory can store up to four activities.
 
 



 

Position lock

Any desired position can be locked in place to support certain activities

Some activities require extra stability, while the arm is still being supported. Making a telephone call is one example. When making a telephone call, the arm is being held in the same position for an extended period of time. It is then convenient that the arm support locks, thus preventing downward movement. By using the position lock, the user can fix the supported parts of the forearm, upper arm and shoulder in place.