Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Myoelectric bionic hand looks ace, changes lives in video

Every so often we get to take a look at technology that genuinely blows our minds. The Bebionic 3 bionic hand has entered that pantheon of brain-expanding tech -- click play on the video above to see the world's most advanced bionic hand, and the people who use it, in action.

Cloaked in sultry black armour and bristling with gleaming motors, you'd be forgiven for thinking this brand-new prosthetic had gone missing from Ridley Scott's prop department.
Built by British-based firm RSLSteeper, this robotic hand features individual motors in each finger, microprocessors that monitor the position of each individual digit, and 14 selectable grip patterns.
It's responsive, capable of incredibly sensitive, delicate actions and -- best of all -- dead simple to use.
The hand is myoelectric, which means it's controlled using muscle impulses, which are detected by sensors placed on the user's arm. That muscle movement is communicated to the hand, triggering a mechanical action.
I was lucky enough to be wired up to one of the bionic hands to try controlling one for myself, and was amazed at how easy it was. All I had to do was flick my wrist backwards to open the hand, and forwards to close it. Flicking back twice changes the grip pattern. Pointing, pinching and a handle grip are just some of the grip configurations available.
As well as making life easier for amputees or those born without limbs, the hand is more than a practical tool, it's a source of huge self-confidence, even pride. A silicon glove is available as an optional extra, but the users I spoke to were happier to have the cool-looking hand on show.

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