New artificial hand can grip like a human

Scientists have developed a new ultralight limb that can mimic the movement in a real hand better than any currently available.

"With this hand you can clutch objects such as a ball, you can move the thumb out to one side and grip objects with the index finger in the way you do when opening a lock with a key, and you can wrap your fingers around an object in what we call the power grip--like the one you use when you hold a hammer or a microphone," Dr. Paul Chappell, a medical physicist from the University of Southampton, said in a statement.

The human hand has 27 bones and can make a huge number of complex movements and actions. The prototype hand uses six sets of motors and gears so that each of the five fingers can move independently.

One of the key shortcomings of mechanical, artificial limbs is that they aren't able to sense pressure or touch in the same way human limbs can, but Chappell and his group are working on that.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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