A prosthetic hand that can catch and move like a normal hand could restore over 90% of functionality to people with upper limb amputations, say the developers of the invention.
A team of orthopedists, industrial designers and patients worked with scientists at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Italy to create the artificial hand called Hannes.
The limb was designed to accurately reproduce the size, weight, appearance, and natural gripping motion of a human hand to help people gain near normal control following an amputation.
Researchers say Hannes is ready for marketing and has received regulatory approval.
How does Hannes, the almost real hand, work?
Hannes has the ability to reproduce the key biological properties of a human hand: natural and adaptable movement, strength and speed levels and robustness.
The prosthesis was designed to resemble a human hand and wrist, is soft and has the ability to dynamically adapt to the shape of objects that the wearer wants to catch.
Hannes includes a series of sensors located with a custom joint that detects the activity of any residual limb muscle in the lower or upper arm.
“Hannes’ true intelligence lies in mechanical design, which is completely unique in its market sector and gives the prosthesis the versatility and movement of a natural hand,” the researchers explained.
“The basic mechanism of the hand is a mechanical differential system that allows Hannes to adapt to the object that is grasped, using a single motor.”
Hannes can achieve a complete tightening in less than a second and, at the same time, can exert a maximum tightening force of 150N, a much higher level of force than other commercial and research prosthetic hands.
Hannes has a standard full-day battery life and runs on battery power.
It can be controlled with the phone
A mobile phone application and a bluetooth connection can also be used to adjust the operating parameters of the hand – including accuracy and speed of movement.
This allows the user to optimize the experience to suit their own requirements, rather than having a single system of general specificity.
The prosthetic hand is available in two different sizes and was designed to work for both the right and left hand, being customized for women and men.
The name is a tribute to Professor Johannes ‘Hannes’ Schmidl, technical director of the Inail Prosthesis Center in the 1960s and a pioneer in upper limb prosthetics.