Indian-origin engineer develops device to improve hand function

An Indian-origin engineer has developed a mechanised human hand to improve its function for those who have suffered nerve damage and have undergone surgery.

Indian-origin engineer develops device to improve hand function

New York: An Indian-origin engineer has developed a mechanised human hand to improve its function for those who have suffered nerve damage and have undergone surgery.

The device, tested in cadaver hands, is one of the first instruments created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement while implanted inside the body.

"This technology is definitely going to work and it will merge artificial mechanisms with biological hand function," said Ravi Balasubramanian, an expert in robotics, biomechanics and human control systems, and assistant professor at the Oregon State University.

The new mechanism is not really robotic since it has no sensory, electronic or motor capabilities.

"Rather, it is a passive technology using a basic pulley that will be implanted within a person's hand to allow more natural grasping function with less use of muscle energy," Balasubramanian stated.

New research in cadavers show how the mechanism can produce more natural and adaptive flexion of the fingers in grasping.

The needed force to close all four fingers around an object was reduced by 45 percent, and the grasp improvement on an object reduced slippage by 52 percent.

"Such progress can be an important step to improve function, by providing an alternative to the suture which has been the previous mainstay," Balasubramanian pointed out.

Many people have lost the functional use of their hands due to nerve damage, sometimes from traumatic injury and at other times from stroke, paralysis or other disorders.

"The impact can be devastating, since grasping is a fundamental aspect of our daily life. The surgery we are focusing on is commonly performed in the military on people who have been injured in combat," Balasubramanian pointed out.

The findings were reported in the journal Hand.

 

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