The iLimb, an advanced prosthetic hand, has won the MacRobert award for engineering innovation. The impressive bionic hand has already been fitted to more than 200 patients and offers them a working limb rather than the static and limited prosthetics of old. Some of the recipients of the iLimb include soldiers injured in the war in Iraq.
The bionic hand is designed to much more closely mimic the action of a real human hand and, as such, offers independent operation of each finger and a realistic 90 degree rotation in the thumb. By combining these two features, the hand is capable of performing many more functions than rigid prosthetic limbs.
While more advanced limbs have been designed, the iLimb is by far the most advanced that is available commercially and amputees around the world have begun to receive the advantages that this offers.
No surgery is required to fit the iLimb, which instead relies on the use of sensors attached to the existing arm. These sensors read the motions of the muscle fibers and the computer in the back of the hand reacts to these movements by controlling the hand in the desired way.
Work has already begun on developing an entire arm that would work in the same way, as well as improving on the award winning design of the iLimb.