Touch Bionics unveils world’s first bionic finger
ProDigits is the first ever motor-powered system for patients with missing fingers
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LIVINGSTON, UK and
Created by the company responsible for market-leading bionics like the i-LIMB Hand, the ProDigits solution extends life-changing technology to partial-hand patients, whose finger absence is either due to congenital anomalies or amputation from a traumatic incident or medical condition. The amputee population that can benefit from ProDigits is considerable, estimated at around 40,000 in the U.S. and 1.2 million worldwide, and until now, these people have had no commercially available powered prosthetic solution open to them.
Not having fingers or a thumb to act in opposition to one another makes simple tasks such as holding a fork or a cup difficult and frustrating. The articulating digit underpins much of ProDigits’ technical advantage and it is this articulation that provides the biggest benefit to the patient. With the ability to bend, touch, pick-up and point – the ProDigits used within an overall prosthesis reflects the function of a natural hand.
Prior to receiving ProDigits, Vince most looked forward to the independence his new prosthesis would provide. Vince values the simplification of everyday living activities offered by ProDigits, such as using a drive thru without having to reach over with his right hand, going to the water cooler at his office and not being forced to juggle the process with one hand, and a far more efficient experience going through a buffet line with two hands available.
In an industrial accident,
“Honestly, I had only put it on for five minutes and I was getting it to work just fine,” he said. “It feels like it belongs there, like it’s part of me.”
The nature of each partial-hand patient case is unique, and therefore each prosthetic build is also unique. The concept behind ProDigits is something never before commercially available in the prosthetics industry. Sockets are custom-designed and fabricated by clinicians to suit each individual’s specific needs.
“Vocational and social reengagement is very important to a patient’s rehabilitation after a traumatic event. Partial-hand injuries are, by their nature, challenging aesthetically and functionally,” said
Because of the personalized nature of each ProDigits fitting, Touch Bionics is developing a clinical collaborator program in
“Partial-hand amputation represents the largest group of arm amputees, and with ProDigits we finally have a functional state-of-the-art myoelectric prosthesis that we can offer this previously underserved amputee population,” said
There are two control strategies that can be employed to power ProDigits: either myoelectric sensors that register muscle signals from the residual finger or palm, or a pressure sensitive switch input in the form of a force sensitive resistor (FSR), or touch pad, which relies on the remnant digit or tissue surrounding the metacarpal bone to provide the necessary pressure to activate the finger. As with the i-LIMB Hand, a unique stall feature allows the device to detect when it has closed around an object, also allowing users to point single digits and configure the hand in various grip patterns.
Touch Bionics offers a range of coverings for ProDigits. For some patients the high-tech clear and black robotic skins offered by the company create a confident and highly functional solution. Others prefer a LIVINGSKIN option – this high definition silicone solution is used to provide a human-like restoration to the combined limb and prosthesis for a comprehensive prosthetic restoration.
For photos, video, diagrams and other information relating to ProDigits, please visit: www.touchbionics.com/prodigits-press
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* The partial-hand amputee population is considerable, estimated at around 40,000 in the U.S. and 1.2 million worldwide.
* A two-finger amputation will translate into 20%-40% hand impairment (depending on which fingers are affected) and close to 11%-22% whole person impairment – i.e. overall disability profile, including both physical and psychological metrics.
* Thumb loss will significantly contribute to the impairment of an individual with digital amputations as the total thumb represents 40% hand impairment. Single ProDigit thumb fittings have demonstrated an excellent return to function.
* Without a prosthesis there is the risk of Overuse Syndrome, also referred to as Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), which is associated with unilateral hand loss and excessive use of the intact hand.
* There are physical criteria that dictate whether ProDigits are appropriate or not. Candidates must have amputation of one or more fingers at the transmetacarpal level or higher. It is possible to support candidates with a portion of the finger remaining.
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SOURCE Touch Bionics