A new generation of bionic fingers has
been unveiled by a company called Touch Bionics. The company is
developing advanced upper-limb bionic technologies and has announced
the official launch
of its ProDigits bionic finger. ProDigits are the world's first
powered bionic solution for people who have lost fingers.
ProDigits prosthetics are custom built for each application by
clinicians to insure that they function ideally for the patient.
ProDigits are controlled by using one of two methods. Either
myoelectric sensors that register muscle signals from the residual
finger or palm can be used or a pressure sensitive switch in the form
of a force sensitive resistor or a touchpad can be used to control
the fingers. The last approach relies on the remnant of the finger or
the tissue surrounding the metacarpal bone to provide the necessary
pressure to activate the finger.
One user of the ProDigits
prosthetic Michael Bailey said, "Honestly, I had only put it
[ProDigits] on for five minutes and I was getting it to work just
fine. It feels like it belongs there, like it’s part of me."
Telegraph reports that the ProDigits
device costs between £35,000 and £45,000 and requires no
surgery. That works out to roughly $57,000 to $73,000 USD. The
chances of patients' insurance actually covering this prosthetic is
slim meaning that the ProDigits system will be well out of the reach
of most people who could benefit from the technology.
of coverings can be chosen by the patient including clear skins and a
"livingskin" pattern that is natural looking. ProDigits
hope to work with the National Health Service in the future for
payments in Europe.