Researchers Develop Prosthesis Similar To Human Hand
Replacing the human hand with artificial devices of equal capability and effectiveness is a long-standing challenge. Even the most advanced hand prostheses, which have several active degrees of freedom controlled by the electrical signals of the stump’s residual muscles, do not achieve the complexity, dexterity, and adaptability of the human hand. Thus, prosthesis abandonment rate remains high due to poor embodiment. Here, we report a prosthetic hand called Hannes that incorporates key biomimetic properties that make this prosthesis uniquely similar to a human hand. By means of an holistic design approach and through extensive codevelopment work involving researchers, patients, orthopaedists, and industrial designers, our proposed device simultaneously achieves accurate anthropomorphism, biomimetic performance, and human-like grasping behavior that outperform what is required in the execution of activities of daily living (ADLs). To evaluate the effectiveness and usability of Hannes, pilot trials on amputees were performed. Tests and questionnaires were used before and after a period of about 2 weeks, in which amputees could autonomously use Hannes domestically to perform ADLs. Last, experiments were conducted to validate Hannes’s high performance and the human likeness of its grasping behavior. Although Hannes’s speed is still lower than that achieved by the human hand, our experiments showed improved performance compared with existing research or commercial devices.