Tuesday, July 24, 2007

i-Limb : Word's first bionic hands

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Iraq war veteran US Army Sergeant Juan Arredondo wears an i-Limb, one of the world's first bionic hands, at a news event to showcase the device in New York.

Arredondo, 27, is one of the first to use the groundbreaking i-Limb, a bionic hand with independently moving fingers.

Five individual motors power the fingers, which Arredondo can position for a desired task, from lifting a 45-pound weight to whitewater rafting.

The i-Limb, which was in development at Touch Bionics in Edinburgh, Scotland, for five years, is marketed by Bethesda, Md.-based Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics and costs $60,000 to $150,000, depending on the length of the amputation.

It contains a tiny computer chip that translates electrical signals made by the arm's nerves into physical movement.

The hand generates a low-pitched sound as it moves and can twist off the arm as smoothly as a lid coming off a jar. The technological nooks and crannies are visible under a clear silicone glove, which enhances the hand's tactile ability. Arredondo can control how tightly he grips an object, and he doesn't tire if it's heavy. Link

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