In part one of this series we discussed what it means to say that the MyoCycle is “substantially” equivalent to the RT300. In part two we discussed the similarities and differences between the RT300 and the MyoCycle in terms of the therapy they provide. In this article, we cover the MyoCycle’s design philosophy of ease-of-use and automation. Then, we discuss how this compares to the RT300’s design philosophy of features and flexibility.
Ease of Use of a MyoCycle vs. RT300
Anyone who has used both an RT300 and a MyoCycle can tell you that the MyoCycle is easier to use. The RT300 was designed to be used in a clinic by an able-bodied clinician with specialized knowledge and training, whereas the MyoCycle was designed to be used at home by a layperson in a wheelchair.
The MyoCycle was designed to be as simple and easy to use as a regular exercise bike. Large buttons, simple setup, easy-to-read displays, and single-handed operation were critical design elements in making the MyoCycle accessible and intuitive for use at home. This design allows someone with little to no experience to setup the MyoCycle very quickly. Because there are so few decisions the user has to make in setting up and using the MyoCycle, there is very little chance for user error. While this simplicity limits the flexibility of the MyoCycle, users can always get a good workout without spending a lot of time and effort on setup, and they can do so independently.
The RT300 was designed to be used by a trained specialist, relying on his/her knowledge and expertise to make the appropriate decisions when setting up and using the RT300. For this reason, the RT300 has hundreds of options and settings that need to be tuned for each patient and each therapy session. In part two of this series, we talked about some of these options and settings and the effects they have on the therapy.
While many options provide clinicians with flexibility in how they use the RT300, the tuning process can be costly, time-consuming, and susceptible to user error. For this reason, patients who buy an RT300 for use at home are required to have a specialist come to their home and set it up for them. Once setup is complete, most of the settings are locked, preventing patients who bought an RT300 from changing most of the settings themselves.
In contrast, the MyoCycle uses proprietary algorithms, developed by co-founder Matthew Bellman, PhD, to automatically customize the stimulation settings and stimulation pattern for each rider. This customization is based on the rider’s geometry and maximizes the power output by and the efficiency of stimulating the rider’s muscles. Beyond that, MyoCycle users only need to adjust a few simple settings (11 in total) to get the most out of their workout. The table below, also discussed in part two of this series, compares how some of the cycling parameters are set for both the MyoCycle and the RT300.
| Muscle groups
||Quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes on both legs Quadriceps||hamstrings, and glutes on both legs (more optional)|
| On/off angles
||Automatically determined for each rider based on geometry||Manually adjustable by a specialist (default ERGYS values)|
|Shape||Automatically determined for each rider based on geometry||Trapezoid (as in the figure above), manually adjustable by a specialist|
Beyond the ease of adjusting the therapy settings, we designed the MyoCycle with painstaking attention to every detail that can affect usability. For example, the MyoCycle chair attachments can be easily reached and adjusted with one hand by the rider, whereas the RT300 uses Q’Straints that are hard to reach and require two hands to operate. Also consider that the MyoCycle uses a capacitive touchscreen with large, user-friendly buttons, whereas the RT300 uses a touchscreen with small buttons that are difficult to use without a stylus. Every detail matters, and it is our attention to detail in designing the MyoCycle that make it such a pleasure to use.
To summarize, the MyoCycle trades flexibility for usability, enabling users to get a great workout without spending so much time and effort on setup.
In the fourth and final part of this series, we’ll discuss how MYOLYN’s mission and design philosophy motivated us to design the MyoCycle from the ground up to be affordable. The MyoCycle is dramatically more affordable than an RT300. Stay tuned to find out how we achieved our vision of making an affordable FES bike to spread the benefits of FES-cycling around the world.