The iLimb hand, from Touch Bionics, with natural skin-look cosmesis. Can you tell which is the real hand?
August 6, 2007 The human hand is a magnificent triumph of evolution, combining a complex structure with incredible levels of facility and feedback to enable a stunning range of movements and uses. Its flexibility and usefulness also makes it a debilitating body part to lose and a huge challenge for those involved in the development of bionic limb replacements. The latest innovation from Touch Bionics represents a major step forward in bionic hand development: with four smart motorized fingers and its unique multi-position motorized thumb, all operating from myoelectrically-detected nerve endings in the stump, the iLimb hand opens up a range of grips and fine motor abilities that prosthetic hands have never had before, like using a key in a lock, or one-fingered typing on a keyboard. Another important advance is the simple yet very effective feedback sensors in the fingers which control grip pressure to hold fragile items like styrofoam cups without dropping or crushing them. What's more, patients can choose between the iLimb hand's funky robotic look or another world first - an incredibly realistic skin that you can pull on to make it look almost identical to a real hand.