Up until the last few years, amputees were left with some pretty lackluster options when it came to adapting without limbs.

You could either learn to work around a missing hand, arm, foot or leg by modifying your environment or rethinking the way you completed certain tasks, or you could rely on a prosthetic, which may have served as a cosmetic solution and given you some extended though clearly limited capabilities.

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Fortunately, smarter engineering and advancing materials are now opening up new possibilities for individuals who need mobility aids. Prosthetic limbs have gone from limited solutions to impressively lifelike, as seen in the latest Bebionic model from prosthetics manufacturer, Steeper.

Lighter And More Intuitive
A combination of military technology, Formula 1 engineering, rare Earth magnets, and years of research and development has yielded one of the most advanced prosthetic hands to date. For the wearer, the latest Bebionic prosthetic is much lighter and more intuitive than current models.

It’s also a reflective of wearer diversity, as this slimmer, smaller bionic hand is more suitable for smaller framed individuals, including women and teenagers. Many of the previous robotic prostheses have been proportion according to the average male hand.

Image Source: Phys.Org
Image Source: Phys.Org

Many Micro-Components Coming Together
The smaller size coupled with extensive functionality is part of what makes the new Bebionic hand so impressive. It offers fourteen different grips and positions thanks to more than 335 mechanical parts. While it’s considerably strong—capable of bearing nearly 100 pounds—the complete prosthetic weighs under 14 ounces.

Most of its weight sits at the wrist rather than fingers, making it feel more like a natural hand. The many sensors, motors and microprocessors that give the hand its functionality also allows for an auto grip function. This feature detects when an object is slipping from grasp and automatically adjusts the grip to ensure a more secure hold.

Image Source: CNET
Image Source: CNET

Changing Lives For The Better
The hand was recently showcased at the London Prosthetics Center and currently belongs to Nicky Ashwell of the U.K. who previously wore only a cosmetic prostheses. Nicky has reportedly said the hand took some getting used to but has since served as a major ability improvement.

Provided Steeper’s hands can be made affordable enough and manufactured efficiently, perhaps many more people will soon be able to enjoy the extended abilities that come from such engineering marvels.

What other major innovations do you think we’ll soon see as medical science and technology continue to create remarkable mobility solutions? Share your thoughts on this story in the comments.

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