Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

14. The Bionic Hand

The world's first commercially available bionic hand took many hands many years to develop. Created by Touch Bionics, it's multi-articulating, meaning each finger has its own motor. Artificial hands are often hooklike, limited to simple open and close gestures, but the iLimb has more subtle capabilities, like a credit-card grip for grasping narrow objects. It also has a power hold for larger things like coffee mugs. Research on the device began in the United Kingdom's national health system back in the 1960s. Now hundreds of people around the world are using it. Next up for Touch Bionics? A prosthetic wrist unit, prosthetic fingers and a full bionic arm.