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BeBionic's myo-electric hand features numerous improvements over past models, including being the world's first rotatable electronic prosthetic hand.  (Source: BeBionic)
The force is strong in this prosthetic

High tech bionics may one day provide vision to the blind and hearing to the deaf.  But among the most exciting prosthetics is the possibility of fully functional prosthetic limbs.

In his visionary science fiction epic 
Star Wars, director George Lucas showed protagonist Luke Skywalker getting his hand chopped off by his villainous father, Darth Vader, only to have it replaced by a prosthetic that offered the complete functionality of his old hand.  Today, modern science hasn't quite caught up to Star Wars, but it's getting awfully close.

A UK-based firm called BeBionic has unveiled its completed myo-electric bionic hand masterpiece.  The company bills the device as the "next generation of fully articulated myo-electric hands." Myo-electric means that the limb is controlled by muscle contractions the surface of the residual limb.  A computer translate the inputs (muscle contractions) into outputs (hand movement) given its configured action profiles.

Past mechanical hands have featured flexion/extension, but the new hand will be the world's first to offer rotational articulation.  Plus the device offers wireless communication with a control computer, versus the USB cables that many previous models have featured.

The true key to the device though is the ability for users to customize exact commands in terms of speed, force, and grip patterns, for common tasks.  That should great simplify everyday chores like picking up objects or typing.

BeBionic is showing off the electronic appendage at the ISPO World Congress in Leipzig and offers a demo video here.

The device will be available for worldwide distribution in June in 19 different realistic silicone skin tones, for a true sci-fi feel. 

Now if the scientists can just get to work on lightsabers, we'll be all set.



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RE: Why hand shaped?
By Motoman on 5/25/2010 10:29:52 AM , Rating: 2
For one thing, your brain is used to operating a human-shaped hand...it's used to giving commands for 4 fingers and a thumb.

Secondly, the world is designed around hands - for example, the computer you're sitting in front of. Keyboard & mouse - need hands.

Also, if you were squeamish about your robohand, naturally if it's hand-shaped you can just wear gloves and appear to be normal...other than the constant wearing of gloves that is.


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