Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bionic fiction becomes science fact…

24.11.2005


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:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Proteomics and precision medicine
08.02.2016 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Scientists create imaging 'toolkit' to help identify new brain tumor drug targets
02.02.2016 | eLife

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 study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

Im Focus: Superconductivity: footballs with no resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...

Im Focus: Wbp2 is a novel deafness gene

Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...

Im Focus: From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

Body temperature triggers newly developed polymer to change shape

09.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Using renewable energy in heating networks more efficiently

09.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>