Scientists unveil first ‘bionic fingers’

By | December 10, 2009

Scientists unveil first bionic fingers

What are billed as the world’s first bionic fingers have been unveiled by British scientists.

Bosses at Touch Bionics, the company behind the motor-powered ProDigits, say they will transform the lives of people with missing fingers.

Those fitted with the device will be able to bend, touch, pick up and point, simple actions which can be difficult with absent fingers and thumbs.

The firm – which also invented the bionic i-Limb hand – says its new invention can help people with up to five missing digits on a hand, whether from birth or because of an injury or medical condition.

The number of disabled people who could benefit is estimated at more than 50,000 in the EU alone, and at around 1.2 million worldwide.

Phil Newman, marketing director of Livingston-based Touch Bionics in West Lothian, said: “The ProDigits provide a powered device with a grip and it has returned these people to a level of functionality and independence.”

The custom-made ProDigits are fitted onto what remains of the hand, and can be controlled by sensors which register muscle signals from the residual finger or palm.

Alternatively they can be controlled by a pressure sensitive touch pad, which relies on the remnant digit or tissue surrounding the metacarpal bone to provide the necessary pressure to activate the finger.

A special stall feature allows the device to detect when it has closed around an object so that it does not crush it.

Patients can choose from a range of coverings, from hi-tech clear and black robotic skins to a more natural-looking “livingskin” option.

via Scientists unveil first ‘bionic fingers’.

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