First UK user receives world’s most lifelike bionic hand
16, June 2015
Nicky Ashwell has become the first UK user to receive the world’s most lifelike hand – the bebionic small, and the technology was showcased at the official UK launch in London on 16 June 2015.
The congenital amputee from London has become the first user in the UK to be fitted with the new prosthetic hand setting a new benchmark in small myoelectric hands. Developed using F1 technology and specifically in scale for women and teenagers*, the bebionic small hand is built around an accurate skeletal structure with miniaturised components designed to provide the most true to life movements.
The launch marks a significant milestone for Steeper and also marks a turning point in the world of prosthetics as it perfectly mimics the functions of a real hand. A bionic extension of the arm that enables the utmost dexterity will enable amputees to engage in a range of activities that would have previously been complex and unmanageable.
Nicky Ashwell, 29, born without a right hand, received Steeper’s latest innovation at a fitting by London Prosthetics Centre – a private facility providing expert services in cutting-edge prosthetics. Before being fitted with the bebionic small hand, Nicky would use a cosmetic hand without movement; as a result, Nicky learned to carry out tasks with one hand.
Nicky, who is a Product Manager at an online fashion forecasting and trend service, said, “When I first tried the bebionic small hand it was an exciting and strange feeling; it immediately opened up so many more possibilities for me. I realised that I had been making life challenging for myself when I didn’t need to. The movements now come easily and look natural; I keep finding myself being surprised by the little things, like being able to carry my purse while holding my boyfriend’s hand. I’ve also been able to do things never before possible like riding a bike and lifting weights.”
Bebionic small hand works using sensors triggered by the user’s muscle movements that connect to individual motors in each finger and powerful microprocessors. The technology comprises a unique system which tracks and senses each finger through its every move – mimicking the functions of a real hand.
Ted Varley, Technical Director at Steeper said, “Looking to the future, there’s a trend of technology getting more intricate; Steeper has embraced this and created a smaller hand with advanced technology that is suitable for women and teenagers. An accurate skeletal structure was firstly developed, with the complex technology then specifically developed to fit within this in order to maintain anatomical accuracy. In other myoelectric hands the technology is developed first, at the expense of the lifelikeness.”
*Specifically designed with women, teenagers and smaller framed men in mind