It is interesting to know that advancements in prosthetics technology have arrived at a stage where it can get quite impossible to tell the difference between a prosthetic hand and the real thing. Take for example the i-LIMB – this is the first commercially available prosthetic hand that features five individually powered fingers. By merging a revolutionary functionality with amazingly natural cosmetics, the i-LIMB looks set to change lives of amputees all over the world by helping them blend in with everyday life. is changing the lives of amputees across the globe – and blending right in.
The i-LIMB works by utilizing electrodes which are placed on the skin of the remaining portion of the patient’s limb, and that is normally located on the top and bottom of the forearm. Whenever the patient moves the muscles that would translate to an extension of their hand, these very electrodes will pick up on those electrical signals and translate it into individual finger movement within the i-LIMB, making me wonder whether Will Smith’s robotic arm in I, Robot works along the same line although I’m sure by the time robots have gotten that intelligent, prosthetics then work via telepathy or something of the equivalent – since there is no Force for us to manipulate as with the case of Anakin Skywalker.
The i-LIMB was first introduced in 2007 by Scottish company Touch Bionics, and is able to engage in a wide range of unique grip positions that enable the user to balance power and precision as and when required. Extending the index finger alone allows the patient to touch type or press buttons, while rotating the thumb to meet the side of the index finger helps patients grip a key or dinner plate without dropping them. Another problem of pressure in the grip is also met as the prosthetic is smart enough to know when to stop once a sufficient level of grip is achieved, letting one hold an egg or styrofoam cup without crushing them by accident. The i-LIMB comes with a sticker price of $18,000, so hopefully mass production will make them cheaper for folks living in war-torn countries.