A bionic hand has been developed that recognises individual objects and adapts the grip to fit, much like a human hand.
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However, this device was developed by scientists at the University of Newcastle to address the lack of response technology available in current prosthetic limbs on the market.
So they fitted a camera to a robotic hand and taught the electronic brain within to assess an object’s information “within milliseconds,” thereby triggering the exact movements required to pick it up or feel it. It could be a light grip or a firm hold, depending on what you prefer.
Co-author and biomedical engineer Dr. Kianoush Nazarpour states that current prosthetic limbs are controlled using myoelectric signals, which is “electrical activity of the muscles recorded from the skin surface of the stump.”
He and lead author on the study Ghazal Ghazaei showed a computer numerous images “from different angles and orientations, even in different light and against different backgrounds and eventually the computer learns what grasp it needs to pick that stick up,” she explained to Newcastle University Press Office.
The hand is a part of a larger study that hopes to soon develop bionic hands that can also sense pressure and temperature, sending signals back to the brain.
Much like Luke Skywalker’s hand, electrodes in the bionic limb would wrap around nerve endings in the arm.
“It’s a stepping stone towards our ultimate goal,” Dr. Nazarpour says. “But importantly, it’s cheap, and it can be implemented soon because it doesn’t require new prosthetics – we can just adapt the ones we have.”
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Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.