A new discovery in the field of prosthetic technologies gives increased hope of a normal life to amputees. A UK-based company has developed a bionic hand that can be controlled via a smartphone application.
The i-limb ultra, developed by prosthetics developers Touch Bionics, is the first bionic hand that can be partly controlled with the aid of a phone application. This technology is more simple and accessible than thought-controlled limbs, which require highly complex surgical procedures to be connected to a patient’s central nervous system.
The bionic limb was designed to look and move more like a natural hand than any previous prosthetic hand. It has a rotating wrist and thumb and four individually articulating fingers, allowing users to easily grasp objects and perform a wide range of tasks without any difficulty. The prosthesis is also provided with an auto-grasp feature to prevent accidental slippage when picking up an item.
The prosthetic hand’s movements are either controlled by the user’s muscle signals or by the phone app. Called Quick Grip, this application will run on iPod Touch or iPhone 5, giving users access to 24 different grip patterns for customized functionality and enhanced precision. The pre-programmed motions will allow wearers to pick up objects, grasp various tools and even tie their shoe laces by simply tapping the app. Quick Grip is available in the Apple App Store.
Wearers will also be able to access the i-limb’s software via Bluetooth, allowing them to configure or disable some grip patterns or to create their own custom gestures. The same feature will enable medical professionals to view usage information, which can help them make the best recommendations to their patients.
Mastering the limb’s grip patterns and movements can be difficult and will require careful training, and this is why the prosthetic hand comes with the necessary software to help wears learn how to use it efficiently. Touch Bionics also offers customized covers to give the prosthesis a more lifelike appearance.
The i-limb ultra is presented as the closest thing to a real hand currently available on the market, offering unprecedented dexterity and flexibility. Check out this video to see the bionic limb in action:
[Image via Touch Bionics]