BrainRobotics is building products that will make a lasting difference for millions of people around the world.

These are their stories...

"You can do things again. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do shit.”

“The BrainRobotics hand is helping me bridge a gap with more and more natural movement. I’m not using a prosthetic device, I’m using my hand. The more you smooth out using the gestures and getting those grips to work in the way that is best for you, it’s not a device it’s your hand at that point, and that is a great thing.”
User Type: Amputee following trauma from VBIED
Prosthetist: Randy Alley at biodesigns
User Name: Capt. Carey DuVal
Instagram Handle: @steel.claw.duval
BrainRobotics prosthetic hand_weight
Carey DuVal, a transradial amputee as a result of a VBIED attack during combat deployment to Afghanistan in 2014, made history as the first amputee to be selected during US Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection to attend the prestigious Special Forces Qualification Course (Q-Course).

Captain DuVal credits his HiFi Interface from biodesigns as the game changer and reason he was able to perform at such an elite level.
Capt. DuVal did not always wear myoelectric terminal devices even though he was fit with one after his transradial amputation.

He had no need for a myoelectric hand as none of them would stand up to the heavy field work he was involved in.

However, after finishing up the Q-Course he had a change of heart. He realized that although he had gotten good at tying a couple of ropes together with the hook and his sound hand, it was the small stuff that got him.

He had been fit with other myoelectrics but, “With the BrainRobotics’ hand I quickly noticed the grip system seemed to be more intuitive and very responsive, allowing me to switch easily and quickly between different grips,” stated Captain DuVal.
Carey continues to be a self-advocate and a self-proclaimed tinkerer. When asked how he has been able to adapt so easily to new prosthetics, he quickly responds with “My first occupational therapist that I got at Walter Reed, Annemarie Orr, was fantastic. She’s still amazing. She laid a lot of the groundwork for how I think about occupational therapy when I’m testing a prosthesis."

Annemarie shares, “The model that we had at Walter Reed was that the therapist was involved with the prosthetist from the very onset of the amputation, the pre-prosthetic fitting phase, and we would do a very comprehensive evaluation of what their goals and needs and their functional status was. I want the client to be very actively involved in that because that gives them ownership of their limb so I think it’s best when you can bring everyone in on the front end.”

Today, with all of the support and guidance he’s gotten along the way so far Carey continues to participate in CrossFit, has competed in the WheelWod open and qualified for the WheelWod Games (WheelWod is the adaptive version of the CrossFit Games and, like CrossFit, includes aerobics, weightlifting and gymnastic movements). He also continues to teach yoga and meditate, all while seeking continued help for his phantom limb pain.

Image care of Carey DuVal

Although yoga was something Carey had been practicing since the age of 13, he wasn’t comfortable, initially, doing yoga in a class after his amputation. Like many others, he was self-conscious about trying to figure things out for the first time, again.

However, when he arrived at Fort Bragg, where he resides currently, he was able to find the right hot yoga gym and after going a couple of times got hooked. Currently he goes almost daily and has even begun teaching yoga.

“The benefit that I saw out of yoga, specifically when it came to being an amputee and being traumatically injured, is that it’s trackable. When you get into a flow state that’s one thing but there is also a confidence building to it.

The first time you’re in there and somebody tells you that you’re going do a side plank on one arm, you’re afraid of it. So when I first started, I was using blocks. With time, I became confident enough to go down to my elbow on that block, and then all of a sudden you’re up on the nub and you realize that you’re doing a side plank from your stump down. Your feet are stacked and now you can even go down to a push up. That whole progression happened over the course of maybe a month or two, for me. It was incredible.

I would teach people yoga for free for the rest of my life if I could because I know I can help.”

In the day to day, Carey has continued to see the benefits of myoelectrics and how they help with his daily tasks. He was identified as the first candidate to try out the brand new BrainRobotics prosthetic hand that is to be released in early summer 2021.

Carey shared his excitement on what’s to come “I could control a computer mouse and work a keyboard for the first time in a long time.” It is these types of ADLs that BrainRobotics wants to ensure that first and foremost are possible for more upper limb different individuals.

Notes On Phantom Limb Pain

According to a study titled Benchmarking Residual Limb Pain and Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees through a Patient-reported Outcomes Survey shares that

“more than 75% of major limb amputees experience chronic pain, which can lead to prosthesis intolerance, depression, and opioid use.”

“Because the doctors at Walter Reed, deal with amputees and people that have amputations and traumatic compound injuries daily, if I say ‘I have phantom limb pain’ to a doctor or medical staff at Walter Reed not only do they know what I’m talking about, they have a very large wide base of people that have experienced things and different methods that they’re looking into to help out with that.  Unfortunately, my experiences outside of Walter Reed have varied greatly.  I even had an orthopedic doctor who said it was in my head.  After asking to get referred to the pain clinic I was immediately met with openness.  And these two people were 100yards away from each other in the same hospital. 

I realize that part of this is being a good advocate for yourself, but I will say this to anyone going through the same thing, there IS a doctor who will listen to your problems.”

Since this experience, Carey has come across numerous other amputees who have had a similar experience and each and every time he encourages them to speak up and find someone who will listen and help.  He advises to:

  • Stop and think about what the care professional assigned to you is telling you.
  • What are they telling you versus what do you need?
  • What are they telling you that you feel versus what you actually feel?

If these things do not line up, speak up.

Close Bitnami banner