Bionic Hand Provides Strength and Haptic Feedback

Sept. 2, 2021
Psyonic's Ability Hand offers impressive dexterity via feedback loop.

Pysonic's Ability Hand uses sensory feedback utilizing low-cost pressure sensors on each finger tip. All five fingers can individually flex and extend, and the thumb rotates, too. Most commercially available prosthetic hands target males with larger limbs, whereas the Ability Hand is available as a 50th percentile female-sized. It also weighs 20% less than the average human hand.

The user manipulates the hand using his or her muscles and the feedback is provided in the same area. The hand also can be controlled by an app on a smartphone. The Ability Hand works with most third-party EMG pattern recognition systems, EMG direct control systems, linear transducers and force-sensitive resistors.

Clinicians and patients had indicated that breakage was the number one problem with bionic hands, which can cost as much as $30,000. The Ability Hand fingers are made of polyurethane and silicone, giving them compliance while allowing them to withstand blunt force impacts. Experiments with the prototypes show that the compliant finger design absorbs at least 10 times more energy on impact compared to a conventional rigid finger design. The fingers survived an impact that even a 1045 HR steel bar could not withstand. Each finger can hold up to 38 lb, while the hand can hold over 50 lb.

This video appeared in Electronic Design.

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