08 July 2015

Limber Bionic Arm Prosthesis

A robotic arm that connects to a smartphone

RoboHunter, Geektimes

Time is passing, technologies are improving, and we are constantly seeing prices for previously revolutionary technologies drop to a level that allows them to be used en masse. 3D printing is one of these technologies, because now almost anyone in the developed world can afford a desktop 3D printer.

Other technologies are also developing. For example, smartphones, tablets and mini-computers can now perform tasks that a car 20 years ago, even at a price 100 times more, could not even approach.

This allowed a Japanese company called exiii to create a myoelectric arm, which is not only exponentially more functional than prosthetic hands ten years ago, but also available at a low price.

The device has been under development for several years, and the latest version of the bionic handiii from exiii, to the amazement of the audience, was presented last week at SXSW. The hand, as in the 2004 film with Will Smith "I, Robot", with bent fingers also looks a bit like a spider.

The greatest advantage of the bionic handiii hand is in the price. Incredibly, unlike other expensive myoelectric hands that use expensive computer systems, handii uses a smartphone.

The EMG sensor on the wearer's hand sends signals to the smartphone, which processes them and then sends them back to the hand, telling which movements to make. In addition, exiii has managed to create a hand in such a way that it needs one motor to control each finger. Despite the fact that the fingers consist of three joints, one motor located at the base of the joint can work for the entire finger.

The Handii hand, developed using 3D printing technology, is very easy to set up and is presented in various color options. Also, the fingers are interchangeable: this means that different fingers can be added in different situations. Maybe you'll want to have a finger with a rubber texture, or maybe with an electrical module. Maybe you just want to change the color of your fingers. This can all be easily done.

And best of all, exiii wants to make the bionic handiii arm open source, so that everyone can take the design as a basis and possibly improve it, as well as the functionality of the device.

Currently, the company sells a specially designed robotic arm to businesses that are interested in using it for their research, on the website. It must be interesting to see how quickly this device will come into fashion.

Today, everyone already has a smartphone, so the availability of such a device can make it an attractive option for people around the world who do not have hands.

What do you think is the potential of this development for the prosthetics market?

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