Pioneering technique could cut cost of sophisticated hand prosthetics
A Bristol company has developed a new technique for producing robotic prosthetics at a fraction of the cost of those currently available.
The new technology uses a mobile scanner, attached to a tablet computer, to help measure a person’s arm, before a 3D printer produces the parts for the custom made prosthetic.
This new technique could bring the cost of advanced robotic prosthetics down to around £1,200; a significantly more affordable option compared to those currently available, which range between £10,000 and £40,000.
Crucially, the new technology will offer a more affordable option for child amputees who require new prosthetic limbs every 12 months as they grow.
The robotic hand works by responding to muscle movements in an amputee’s arm, and enables the user to pick up and grip objects, and even shake a person’s hand, using the appropriate strength and sensitivity.
The prototype robotic hand is still in development, however the company responsible for the technology is optimistic that additional modifications could take just months to develop.
Imogen Wetton, senior serious injury solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors' Manchester office, said: “Following an amputation, an individual’s mobility and independence can be considerably affected, and everyday tasks like getting dressed can become problematic.
“Amputees face a long and intensive rehabilitation period, and prosthetic limbs can significantly improve mobility and consequently a patient’s emotional and physiological wellbeing.
“This new, affordable technology could be life changing for victims of serious injuries or illness.”
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