Latest BeBionic hand has stronger kung-fu grip

The fingers on the BeBionic 3 hand configure themselves according to electrical signals in the user's skin. The hand's power grip has been improved to 31.5 pounds.

The Bebionic 3 prosthetic with jungle camouflage finish. SteeperUSA

It's still no match for the human hand, but RSL Steeper's BeBionic 3 looks way cooler.

The company is launching a more powerful, durable version of its prosthetic today at a gathering of the American Orthotic Prosthetic Association (AOPA) in Boston.

The BeBionic 3 has an aluminum chassis, improved electronics, a redesigned thumb, and new motors that increase the power grip strength from 16.8 pounds to 31.5 pounds, according to SteeperUSA.

In hook mode, when a weight is carried by all fingers, the hand can bear 99 pounds, up from 70.5 pounds.

The hand works by detecting faint electrical signals in the user's arm skin. These are amplified by the electronics and translated into one of 14 possible grips. Users can cycle through a choice of eight of these that are uploaded to the hand and select the one they want for a particular task.

For instance, a mouse-clicking action makes the thumb grip a mouse, while the index finger clicks the left button, as seen in this video.

Meanwhile, the precision open grip can be used to grab a wooden block in a stack of blocks, and the tripod grip can be used to write with a pen. More grip videos can be seen here.

"We have a compliant hand that has multi-articulated fingers so users can perform everyday tasks without having to think twice," says Steeper general manager Richard Shapcott. "BeBionic has the most up-to-date technology and reliable materials, and it does what it says it will do. It doesn't let patients down."

Depending on its configuration, the hand will cost clinical centers $25,000 to $35,000. It's available in a range of colors and designs, including snow and jungle camouflage and tiger stripes, as well as realistic silicone skin coverings. Check them out in the vid below.


 

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