Low-Cost, Inflatable Bionic Hand Gives Amputees Real-Time Tactile Control

The prosthetic, which had a tactile feedback system built in, was found by the researchers to have partially restored a volunteer’s residual limb’s primitive sensation. Surprisingly durable, the new design bounces back quickly from being run over by a car or hammered.

The intelligent hand is roughly half a pound in weight and is supple and elastic. About $500 is the total cost of its components, which is a small amount compared to the weight and material costs of more rigid smart limbs.

Xuanhe Zhao, an MIT professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering, says, “This is not a product yet, but the performance is already similar or superior to existing neuroprosthetics, which we’re excited about.” “There is a great deal of potential to make this soft prosthetic extremely affordable for families with low incomes who have experienced amputation.”

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