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Dorset Orthopaedic fits patient with pioneering bionic hand

Otto Bock Healthcare : 23 January, 2013  (Application Story)
Dorset Orthopaedic fits the first 'Bionic' Michelangelo Hand from Ottobock Healthcare in UK with Christopher Taylor becoming the first person in the UK to be fitted with the pioneering Michelangelo Hand.
Dorset Orthopaedic fits patient with pioneering bionic hand

Taylor, 58, of Ivybridge in Devon, UK, has been testing his new prosthetic over the past few months and will receive his final fitting from Dorset Orthopaedic's Consultant Prosthetist and Director of Clinical Services, David Hills.

Taylor lost his right hand in a jet-ski accident in August 2009. On YouTube, he watched development of the Michelangelo Hand, created by prosthetic and orthotic innovators Ottobock and chose it because it offers never-before-seen complex gripping kinematics, positioned using muscle signals.

As a self-employed lifting equipment engineer, Christopher regularly climbs ladders and works atop industrial buildings and cranes.  The four movable fingers and a thumb that can be independently positioned using muscle signals, will allow Taylor to continue working safely.

During the trials, Taylor quickly and easily mastered control of the prosthetic hand by using natural muscle movement and contraction in the remaining part of his arm. Taylor said: "The more I use it the better I get at controlling it."

Taylor enjoys watching the life-like movements of the hand. "The fingers move in line like a natural hand and I particularly like the way I can very quickly change the type of grip needed for a variety of everyday tasks, as easily as moving my remaining good hand."

Dorset Orthopaedic have used the organisation's expertise to add to the comfort of the hand, by introducing a silicone 'comfort fit' technology.  Dorset Orthopaedic's Consultant Prosthetist and Director of Clinical Services, David Hills said: "Traditionally upper limb sockets are made from rigid materials such as glass fibre. We have however developed 100 percent Silicone sockets, which are proving to be much more comfortable due to their flexibility especially around bony areas such as the elbow."

"This is a hugely exciting medical innovation, and we're delighted that Christopher has found the Michelangelo so comfortable and easy to use," commented Geoff Harding, Business Manager Prosthetics at Ottobock Healthcare. "We hope that Christopher's story shows other hand amputees that real, effective solutions are available and look forward to watching his progress with Michelangelo."

The Michelangelo Hand uses advanced software that increases the responsiveness and predictability of the hand, making it much easier to operate.

True to its namesake, the Michelangelo Hand offers life-like, sculptural design, its fingers are made of both hard and soft materials mirroring bones, joints, muscles and tendons.

The Michelangelo Hand features:

Seven different hand positions match the versatility and complexity of natural hand movement.

Never-before-seen complex gripping kinematics, positioned using muscle signals.

Re-positionable wrist-joint offers a more natural shape and movement. This results in the ability to perform various gripping movements with a natural movement pattern.

The hand is equipped with two drive units. The main drive is responsible for gripping movements and gripping strength while the thumb drive allows the thumb to be electronically positioned in one additional axis of movement.

Actively driven components are the thumb, index finger and middle finger. The ring finger and little finger passively follow these movements.

To complete the realistic look of the Michelangelo Hand, PVC prosthetic gloves are available in six different skin tones. Alternatively a translucent prosthetic glove is available to show off the Michelangelo Hand's technology, should the wearer prefer to show off its futuristic design. As advocates of innovative technology, Ottobock provides a supportive training and service provision at all stages to ensure the best possible outcome for the users of its products.

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