Newfire and BIOS Work Together to Bridge the Gap Between Individuals With Limb Loss and Robotic Limbs
Business Type: Medical Devices
Newfire Solutions: IT Staff Augmentation, UX/UI, Mobile App Development using Flutter and Unity
Our partnership with Biologic Input Output Systems (BIOS) pushes the boundaries of medical possibility. Using neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced robotics, this medical device manufacturer is on a mission to construct a controller that will connect the human peripheral nervous system to advanced robotics and computing devices.
BIOS’ bidirectional neural interface promises to restore independence to individuals with limb loss and enable them to do what they would never have imagined being able to do again–like playing the piano or feeling the sensation of holding a loved one’s hand. This marks the first time in tech history that a commercial product is able to provide both movement and sensation, paving the way towards a renewed sense of freedom for its users.
In order to help individuals with limb loss bond with the neural interface and learn how to move and feel their prostheses as if they were real limbs, BIOS needed user-facing software—a bridge between human and machine—built entirely from the ground up.
The project’s complexity was compounded by BIOS’ diverse audience of individuals with limb loss, which includes people with a wide range of technological knowledge, along with children and seniors. Therefore, this application needed to be straightforward, user-friendly, and visually appealing to all users.
In addition to the external end-user interface, the team at BIOS needed an internal app that would allow data scientists to organize and visualize the raw neural data that would later be used in the preparation of machine learning models. These machine-learning models then allowed BIOS to map out which neural signals corresponded with which kinematic movements.
- Build a custom data visualization tool to help BIOS data scientists analyze and sort incoming neural data in preparation for machine learning processes with sorting, filtering, and 3D modeling capabilities.
- Build an intuitive, user-facing app for individuals with limb loss learning to use the bidirectional neural interface to help them master seamless movement of their robotic limbs, including a freshly designed user experience that will allow people of all ages and technical backgrounds to easily learn how to use the neural interface.
BIOS already has a world-class team of AI, machine learning, and robotics experts. What they needed was some expert guidance for the user experience side of their project that would make their futuristic ideas a reality for individuals with limb loss all over the world.
Newfire responded by deploying a team of our top software architects and developers specializing in mobile development in Flutter and Unity to build two user-friendly applications for BIOS—one internal and one customer-facing.
The internal application, the Simulation Visualizer, was built for BIOS’ team of data scientists to help them organize incoming, raw neural data and interpret neural signals so they can be translated into movement. Physical movement is easy to perceive visually, but it’s actually a complex sequence of neural signals. To help BIOS’ data scientists interpret movement, our team used Unity to build 3D models of limbs and instructed those models to move based on neural signals from the BIOS device. That way, scientists could instantly know which data sets correspond to which movements, providing support for testing and validation of machine learning models.
The Simulation Visualizer was a critical development tool, but the crown jewel of our collaboration with BIOS is a customer-facing training application for iPads. This gamified learning platform not only educates individuals with limb loss on the science of their prosthesis but also offers an intuitive learning experience for operating their robotic limbs. Newfire’s UX design team worked with BIOS to craft a clutter-free, instinctive interface that makes the training app accessible to all individuals with limb loss, regardless of their age, background or technical knowledge, through simple, engaging exercises and a number of entertaining Unity games.
Both applications were architected and built by Newfire’s experts in close collaboration with the internal team, to ensure complete alignment with BIOS’ goals and technical requirements. As is the case with all of our IT Staff Augmentation collaborations, Newfire’s team worked in unison with the in-house team and reported to BIOS directly.
- The Simulation Visualizer facilitates efficient data collection and interpretation, providing vital support in the preparation of data for machine learning processes. These processes, crucial to BIOS’ mission, are instrumental in translating neural impulses into movement and tactile stimuli into sensations, making intuitive and responsive prosthetic limbs a reality.
- The Simulation Visualizer has proven invaluable in the troubleshooting process, as it made data inconsistencies and inaccurate results (for example, neural impulses being attributed to the wrong movements) immediately apparent and easier to rectify, which was critical to the success of clinical studies of the neural interface.
- The Training Application provides universal accessibility of robotic limbs to individuals with limb loss of all backgrounds through intuitive, user-friendly training and a variety of Unity games that teach them to do “everyday” things like catch falling objects, open a door, or brush their teeth.
- The self-directed, self-paced character of this app saves hours in initialization time and drastically reduces the need for clinical support in the training process, meaning individuals with limb loss will be able to train their new limbs independently. This will cut costs for end-users who won’t have to rely on expensive clinicians to learn how to use their prosthesis to the fullest extent.
- The Training App was built with flexibility and reusability in mind so that BIOS’ bidirectional neural interface can be infinitely extended, even beyond the field of robotic prosthetics. Remote surgeries, work in dangerous environments such as coal mines or wars, neural disease treatment, and pain management, even human enhancements in the form of additional limbs are all potential applications of the BIOS universal interface. The training program for each one will build upon the UX and UI of the original Training Application.
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BIOS is on track to significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with limb loss. We’re proud that, as designers, software architects and developers, we were able to play a part in bringing a life-changing innovation to the people who need it most.
Newfire is a trusted partner to innovators in digital health like BIOS. A full 80% of our portfolio consists of similar forward-thinking projects in Digital Health and IoT. We have a proven track record in navigating even the most complex, technologically advanced IT challenges. Are you ready to make your visionary tech solutions a reality? Contact us today to begin your journey to transformation.