Description:
Amputation is a practice as old as dirt itself. History has shown that during the fifth Egyptian Dynasty, people were getting amputated all the time. Archaeologists have even found the remains of a wooden stint that resembles a very old prosthetic limb. Fast forward to 1529, where a French surgeon by the name of Ambrose Pare, introduced Amputation as a life-saving medicine for patients. Over the years of his life, Ambrose started to develop more prosthetic parts for scientific purposes. It was in 1863 that Dubois L Parmelee of New York City found a way to attach the prosthetic limb onto the body.
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19th Century Prosthetic Leg


Dubois found a way to fasten the body socket to the artificial limb using atmospheric pressure. At this point, Dubois was not the first one to figure this out, but he was the first one to have done it right the first time. Then, in In 1898, Dr. Vanghetti invented a new way for the limb to be moved through muscle contraction.

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German Iron Prosthetic Arm




Due to technological advancements in the fields of prosthetic care and medicine, people these days are able to live longer, even with amputated arms, legs, and so on. We have seen prosthetic arms and legs that nearly function as normal parts of the body, from metal, spring legs like the ones below, to life-like, metal hands that can perform simple tasks such as grabbing and picking up things.
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Bulkier Prosthetic Hand

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Pair of Prosthetic Legs


Now, we have taken another step forward in the advancements of prosthetic care. A company called Touch Boinics, who specialize in Upper Limb Prosthetics(ULP), has developed the new i-LIMB, a FULLY functional prosthetic hand that not only LOOKS like a real hand, it also performs much harder tasks than its predecessors, such as picking up a penny, pointing the index finger, or holding a coffee mug.




How It Works:

The i-LIMB Hand is controlled by a unique, highly intuitive control system that uses a traditional two-input myoelectric (muscle signal) to open and close the hand’s life-like fingers. Myoelectric controls utilize the electrical signal generated by the muscles in the remaining portion of the patient’s limb. This signal is picked up by electrodes that sit on the surface of the skin.

Because the thumb of the i-LIMB can now be rotated into different positions, the wearer has much more functionality with their i-LIMB hand. Some might say this is a page straight out of the movie Star Wars, and they are right. Among the usual grip-and-tug tasks such as holding up bags and opening car doors, the i-LIMBs are capable of more precise tasks.

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Power Grip


The grasp of the hand is much more like that of a human hand with the articulating fingers able to close tightly around objects. Built-in stall detection tells each individual finger when it has sufficient grip on an object and, therefore, when to stop powering. Individual fingers lock into position until the patient triggers an open signal through a muscle signal. Also, unlike previous prosthetic limbs before, if any of these individual motored fingers become defective, u can just easily swap it out as apposed to getting a whole new hand.





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Tip Grip




Index Point:
Where the thumb and fingers close but the index finger remains extended – this is yet another first from Touch Bionics and very important in today’s modern world. Patients have found this grip very useful for operating computer keyboards, telephone dial pads, ATM cash machines and a host of other everyday requirements.





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Power Grip
Power Grip:
Where all fingers and the thumb close down together to create a full-wrap grip. This grip would be used to hold a can of drink whilst opening the ring-pull, for example, and for carrying large objects such as a briefcase and/or shopping bag.



Key Grip:
Where the thumb closes down onto the side of the index finger. This grip is used to hold items such as a plate or a business card. The addition of wrist rotation enables the patient to turn a key in a lock in a totally ‘human’ way.

i-LIMB Skin
One of the latest improvements to the i-limb system is the "realistic" i-Limb Skin.Some psm1184613691Sabolich._Block.NoDifference_Small.jpgatients, mainly military personnel, particularly love the robotic nature of the uncovered i-LIMB Hand and prefer not to wear it with a cosmesis glove. However, because of the need to provide a grip surface and to protect the hand from dust and water, Touch Bionics has developed the i-LIMB Skin. This is a thin layer of semi-transparent material that has been computer-modeled to accurately wrap to every contour of the hand.


Here is a Video i found of how I-limb works.
Living with I-Limb

References:

The History of Prosthetics
Touch Bionics
YouTube