A lightweight prosthetic hand using bundles of ‘smart’ wires to mimic human muscles and tendons has been developed by engineers from Saarland University in Germany.

The metal wires, which are known as shape-memory alloy and controlled by a semiconductor chip, have the ability to naturally return to their original shape after being deformed, mimicking the contractions and extensions of human muscles.

The material the prosthetic hand is made from has sensory properties, allowing it to perform precise, life-like movements which function without external bulky electronics.

The prosthetic design is in the early stages of development, but engineers are optimistic that it could offer a prosthetic that looks, feels and functions more like a natural limb. The engineers believe that the technology could be integrated into the human neurosystem.

Imogen Wetton, a serious injury solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Manchester office, said: “This latest development in advanced bionic limbs is an exciting step forward, potentially offering people who have undergone an amputation a lightweight prosthetic hand with natural movement and increased mobility.

“We understand that people face an extensive rehabilitative period following an amputation and adapting to life without a limb can be very challenging. Prosthetic technology is advancing rapidly which is hugely positive. We will continue to monitor these developments on behalf of our clients as they could potentially enhance lives and offer greater post amputation independence.”