Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Bionic fiction becomes science fact…


A highly dexterous, bio-inspired artificial hand and sensory system that could provide patients with active feeling, is being developed by a European project.

Funded by the Future and Emerging Technologies initiative of the IST programme, the CYBERHAND project aims to hard wire this hand into the nervous system, allowing sensory feedback from the hand to reach the brain, and instructions to come from the brain to control the hand, at least in part.

Coordinated by Professor Paolo Dario with Professor Maria Chiara Carrozza leading the development of the hand, the project united researchers from Germany, Spain, Italy and Denmark.

So far, the project is racking up an impressive list of achievements. It has a complete, fully sensitised five-fingered hand. The CYBERHAND prototype has 16 Degrees of Freedom (DoFs) made possible by the work of six tiny motors.

Each of the five fingers is articulated and has one motor dedicated to its joint flexing for autonomous control. It features that miracle of evolution, the opposable thumb, so the device can perform different grasping actions.

Taking inspiration from the real hand, where a muscle pulls a tendon inside a synovial sheath, CYBERHAND’s finger cables run through a Teflon sheath pulled by a DC motor. So the proximal, medial and distal phalanges, those bones between your finger knuckles, are all driven by the same tendon. This approach is called underactuation as there are more Degrees of Freedom than Degrees of Movement (motors); it means the prosthesis has a self-adaptive grasp.

"This is a fundamental feature of the CYBERHAND prosthesis because only a limited number of control signals are available for user’s voluntary control," says project manager, Dr Lucia Beccai. Importantly, it also means less user effort is required to control the hand during daylong use.

The CYBERHAND prototype integrates the two types of human senses. One senses where parts of the body are relative to other parts, whether our fingers are open or closed, for example. The other relates to taste, touch, sound, hearing and sight that tell us about the external world. CYBERHAND includes sensors for tension, force, joint angle, end stroke and contact in the final prototype.

This prototype uses Longitudinal IntraFascicular Electrodes (LIFEs) to connect the hand to the nervous system. Within the CYBERHAND project, in addition to traditional wire LIFEs, a new type of electrode has been developed to improve performance and make them less invasive in humans: the Thin Film LIFE (tfLIFE).

So far, the project has produced excellent science and engineering to create an impressive prototype. The next step is to test the device in humans.

Currently researchers are addressing all necessary medical and ethical issues for implantation in human volunteers. A clinical partner has been identified and the Local Ethical Committee has given the approval for the clinical validation of CYBERHAND system, which should begin in 2006.

Some companies have expressed interest in commercialising the system. Nevertheless, it could be five to eight years before the device clears all the tests necessary to prove its safety, usability, and robustness.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>