A newly developed, mind-controlled prosthetic hand could provide amputees with independent finger movement after being successfully trialled on a patient in America.

The new prosthetic technology, developed by researchers at the John Hopkins University in America, was trialled on a patient with epilepsy, who was already due to undergo an operation on his brain for his condition. During the surgery a rectangular sheet of 128 sensors was implanted into the part of the man’s brain that controls hand and arm movement.

Once the sensors were successfully implanted in the brain, a glove fitted with vibrating components was then worn by the patient to test the senses in each fingertip and track the corresponding electrical signals coming from the brain. This data was then programmed into the prosthetic hand, allowing the patient to move each finger of the prosthetic hand using thought alone.

Initial trials of the hand saw 76% accuracy of movement, but this increased to 88% when the ring and little finger were grouped together.

Researchers believe the bionic prosthesis is the first of its kind to successfully perform individual finger movements, using thought alone, and without the need for extensive training beforehand. The technology is in the early stages of development and requires further brain mapping and computer tests before it could be widely available.

Imogen Wetton, a senior serious injury solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Manchester office, said: “Losing a limb is a life changing event that can disrupt an individual’s independence in an instant.

“There has been a flurry of exciting bionic advancements in the last few years and we remain hopeful, on behalf our clients, that such technology will develop to become accessible and affordable for serious injury survivors in the near future.

“Whilst we monitor the developments in the field of bionic technology closely, we cannot raise false hopes when they are at the early stages of development. Our focus is on ensuring our clients are fully supported throughout their rehabilitation, and maximising their compensation to ensure they can access the most appropriate and advanced prosthetics available at any given time.”