Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Each finger can be moved separately

24.04.2008
A new prosthetic hand is being tested at the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidelberg / Grip function almost like a natural hand

It can hold a credit card, use a keyboard with the index finger, and lift a bag weighing up to 20 kg – the world’s first commercially available pros-thetic hand that can move each finger separately and has an astounding range of grip configurations.

For the first time worldwide a patient at the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidelberg has tested both the “i-LIMB” hand in comparison with another innovative prosthesis, the so called ”Flu-idhand”. Eighteen-year-old Sören Wolf, who was born with only one hand, is enthusiastic about its capabilities.

The new prosthetic hand developed and distributed by the Scottish com-pany “Touch Bionics” certainly has advantages over previous models. For example, a comparable standard product from another manufacturer al-lows only a pinch grip using thumb, index, and middle finger, and not a grip using all five fingers. This does not allow a full-wrap grip of an object.

Myoelectric signals from the stump of the arm control the prosthesis

Complex electronics and five motors contained in the fingers enable every digit of the i-LIMB to be powered individually. A passive positioning of the thumb enables various grip configurations to be activated. The myoelectric signals from the stump control the prosthetic hand; muscle signals are picked up by electrodes on the skin and transferred to the control electron-ics in the prosthetic hand. Batteries provide the necessary power.

The “Fluidhand” from Karlsruhe, thus far developed only as a prototype that is also being tested in the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidel-berg, is based on a somewhat different principle. Unlike its predecessors, the new hand can close around objects, even those with irregular surfaces. A large contact surface and soft, passive form elements greatly reduce the gripping power required to hold onto such an object. The hand also feels softer, more elastic, and more natural than conventional hard prosthetic devices.

"Fluidhand" prosthetic device offers better finishing and better grip function

The flexible drives are located directly in the movable finger joints and operate on the biological principle of the spider leg – to flex the joints, elastic chambers are pumped up by miniature hydraulics. In this way, in-dex finger, middle finger and thumb can be moved independently. The prosthetic hand gives the stump feedback, enabling the amputee to sense the strength of the grip.

Thus far, Sören has been the only patient in Heidelberg who has tested both models. “This experience is very important for us,” says Simon Steffen, Director of the Department of Upper Extremities at the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidelberg. The two new models were the best of those tested, with a slight advantage for Fluidhand because of its better finishing, the programmed grip configurations, power feedback, and the more easily adjustable controls. However, this prosthetic device is not in serial production. “First the developers have to find a company to produce it,” says Alfons Fuchs, Director of Orthopedics Engineering at the Orthope-dic University Hospital in Heidelberg, as the costs of manufacturing it are comparatively high. However it is possible to produce an individual model. Thus far, only one patient in the world has received a Fluidhand for every-day use. A second patient will soon be fitted with this innovative prosthe-sis in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Orthopedic Workshop provide a unique service in Germany
The workshop at the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidelberg has been in existence since 1919 and is unique in Germany. Since the Tha-lidomide tragedy in the 1960s it has had its own research department. Today there are some 60 specialized professionals employed in the ortho-pedic workshop who have learned their trade in many years of training. Every year, around 5,000 patients are fitted with orthopedic aids.

Contact:

Alfons Fuchs
Director of Technical Orthopedics
Stiftung Orthopädische Universitätsklinik
Schlierbacher Landstrasse 200
69118 Heidelberg
Germany
Phone: +49 6221 / 96 6406
Email: alfons.fuchs@ok.uni-heidelberg.de

Dr. Annette Tuffs | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.med.uni-heidelberg.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>