http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.89Change: 0.03
R/$ = 12.64Change: 0.05
Au 1091.78 $/ozChange: 0.33
Pt 957.50 $/ozChange: -8.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 04, 2008

World’s first bionic hand introduced to South Africa

Back
Engineering|Expertise|Africa|Components|Design|System|Africa|Power|Operations
Engineering|Expertise|Africa|Components|Design|System|Africa|Power|Operations
engineering|expertise|africa-company|components|design|system|africa|power|operations
© Reuse this Icelandic prosthetic company Icexpress Progressive Prosthetics, which is also based in South Africa, has introduced the world’s first bionic hand, called ‘i-limb’, to the country. The bionic hand was developed by UK-based company Touch Bionics.



“Previously, components in a prosthetic hand limited the number of functions the hand could perform,” says Icexpress operations manager Johan Snyders.

“One can perform almost any function with the bionic hand that can be performed by a normal hand. “The fingers are signal dependent, meaning that, when a firm hard signal is given, the hand will close almost immediately, and when a soft signal is given, it will close slowly,” he says.

The bionic hand was developed using leading-edge mechanical engineering techniques, and is manufactured from high-strength plastics. It is controlled through a highly intuitive control system that uses a traditional two- input myoelectric signal to open and close the hand’s fingers.

Myoelectric controls use the electrical signal generated by the muscles in the remaining portion of the patient’s limb. Electrodes on the surface of the skin pick up this signal. Existing users of basic myoelectric prosthetic hands are able to adapt to the new system quickly and can master the device’s new functionality within minutes.

The bionic hand’s thumb can, like a human thumb, be rotated into different positions to enable important grip configurations, many of which have not been available to amputees before. The grasp of the hand is akin to a human hand’s, with the articulating fingers able to close tightly around objects. Built-in detection tells each individual finger when it has sufficient grip on an object and, therefore, when to stop powering. Individual fingers lock into position until the patient triggers an open signal through a simple muscle flex.

While previous myoelectric hands could only be opened and closed, the bionic hand offers numerous grip patterns that enhance dexterity and support almost all daily living activities. For example, patients are now able to point the index finger to operate a keyboard, or to rotate the thumb in order to meet the side of the index finger to hold a plate or turn a key in a lock. None of these functions were possible before.

Snyders says that the muscles that control movement, called flexors and extensors, are still in place after an amputation takes place. He notes that this allows an electrode to be placed on the skin at the position where the maximum impulse originates in the muscle. When an amputee tries to contract that muscle group, an impulse from the electrode will be sent to a power source where it will be enhanced, allowing the user to open and close the hand as well as rotate the wrist, he says.

The bionic hand has an internal micropro-cessor and, with four fully powered fingers and an articulating thumb, users are given the ability to bend, touch and pick up and point, mimicking the movement of a natural hand. Each finger has an individually powered motor located within each digit. Each finger is built to include a gearbox that allows the user to close the hand and as soon as the fingers experience resistance, the gearbox will disengage, allowing the finger to stall in the appropriate position.

Normally, says Snyders, this sort of technology would bypass Africa.
However, he notes, Icexpress got involved in the i-limb technology following its exist- ing expertise in lower limb bionic technology.

“Icexpress is currently one of a few specialised prosthetic providers in Africa focusing on socket design and amputee rehabilitation. “Our vision is to allow users in Africa to have similar benefits as the rest of the world,” he says.

Snyders admits that the bionic hand is expensive, but adds that as technology becomes more advanced, it will gradually become cheaper. He believes that the breakthrough in the development of the hand could lead to other technological breakthroughs, such as arti- ficial muscles and nerve transplants that will enhance quality of life for amputees in Africa.

The bionic arm had a limited launch in July last year in Vancouver, Canada, and there are now 300 units across the globe.

 

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
The statutory body responsible for skills development and support in the banking sector, BANKSETA, was investing R68-million in the capacity building project of the University of Venda (UniVen), announced Bankseta company secretary Caroline King at a media event in...
LIONEL MOYAL Cloud services providers must compete against other cloud services providers for business by providing up-to-date systems and services
Legacy information technology (IT) systems are becoming increasingly obsolete because of the maturity, efficiencies and cost effectiveness of cloud-based IT services, says information and communication technology major T-Systems subsidiary Intervate head Lionel...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 4 minutes ago The Department of Water and Sanitation has announced plans to build a pipeline to supply water to Jericho in the North West where residents have battled with a shortage of drinking water for a number of weeks. The DWS announced a R2.8-million pipeline which would...
Updated 2 hours 1 minute ago Global programme management and construction consultancy Turner & Townsend increased its turnover for the financial year to April 30, to R7.2-billion, with turnover in Africa up 3% to more than R290-million. The R7.2-billion was up 11% on the R6.8-billion achieved in...
Us President Barack Obama
Updated 3 hours ago Alpha Natural Resources Inc, one of the largest US coal companies, became the latest in the hard-hit industry to seek bankruptcy on Monday. The move comes as President Barack Obama is expected to unveil tough new measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Daimler truck test engineer Dirk Stranz pushes one button, and then retracts his hands from the steering wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. “And now the truck is driving itself.”
The statutory body responsible for skills development and support in the banking sector, BANKSETA, was investing R68-million in the capacity building project of the University of Venda (UniVen), announced Bankseta company secretary Caroline King at a media event in...
LIONEL MOYAL Cloud services providers must compete against other cloud services providers for business by providing up-to-date systems and services
Legacy information technology (IT) systems are becoming increasingly obsolete because of the maturity, efficiencies and cost effectiveness of cloud-based IT services, says information and communication technology major T-Systems subsidiary Intervate head Lionel...
ARMANDÉ KRUGER Balancing the collection and processing of data must be aligned to strategy
Many complementary services enable companies to derive broad value from data inside and outside them. The complexity of data management means that companies’ strategies determine the various data systems and functions they will use, says PBT Group regional sales...
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has announced that it had awarded the country’s first remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) pilot’s licence. It was issued on Friday, July 10, to SACAA employee and qualified commercial pilot Nicole Swart,...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96