Bionic technology continues to make impressive strides forward.
We’ve already covered a host of new innovations in this area…
- The Swiss team that’s created the world’s first mind-controlled prosthetic arm…
- The bionic hand from Case Western University that can distinguish between certain objects and apply the correct force and pressure. Scientists and doctors in Switzerland, Italy, and Germany have also collaborated to attach a bionic hand to a Danish man, which allows him to experience touch…
- The robotic hand that has its own “brain…”
- The prosthetic hand that was made with 3-D printing techniques before being fitted to a young boy…
- The bionic arm that uses a technique called osseointegration to fuse the prosthetic onto the body and literally make it an extension of the patient…
And we can add this innovation to the list now, too…
The Bionic “Claw”
When Argentinean woman, Stella Azambullo, lost her right arm in an industrial accident, she lost a significant amount of freedom and independence with it.
But new technology has allowed her to regain some of that.
Scientists at Bioparx Health Technology have created a bionic arm that reads nerve impulses and gives her enough dexterity to perform everyday tasks. Indeed, the company says it’s the first bionic arm of its kind in Latin America to do that.
Sensors in the prosthetic pick up on electrical signals in the existing muscles. Those signals are then sent to a motor, which open and close the hand.
The hand itself is a claw-like design, with a thumb, index finger, and middle finger (the latter of which I assume is useful when driving!). This allows Azambullo to perform tasks that were impossible with less-flexible mechanical prosthetics.
Bioengineer Luciana Joliat is in charge of therapy and teaching for the device. She describes how the functionality works: “I work directly with the patient and the stump to look for the strongest myoelectric signals before voluntary contractions. I train the patient to activate two muscle groups to activate the opening and closing sensors, to direct the prosthetic and make it open and close.”
The arm also comes with two added bonuses…
Lifelike and Affordable
Not only is the technology top-notch, the designers have made it aesthetically pleasing, too. The arm is cloaked in a “skin-like” glove, which makes it blend in with a real arm.
Stella describes how it’s changed her life: “I’m doing very well. I’m happy to be able to do lots of things again – mainly things around the house. I’m also happy aesthetically. Being able to go back to work has really helped me. I feel good and can move forward and start doing what I used to do.”
Not only that, the arm is more affordable than rival prosthetics, too.
Bioparx bioengineer and Technical Director, Ricardo Rodriguez, says, “We’ve achieved a cost around 50% less compared to similar models that we’re competing with. This is important since healthcare plans don’t cover this kind of product.”
But now that its design is proven, Bioparx hopes the validation, plus affordability, will change insurance companies stance and include the device in their coverage plans.