Washington: In Will.i.am’s latest music video, “Scream ‘n’ Shout,” a human hand can be seen clasping what appears to be a sophisticated robot hand stolen from the set of a high-budget sci-fi film.
Now, it has been revealed that the appendage in question is a genuine prosthetic hand that, its makers claim, has taken us one step closer to truly simulating the real thing.
Unlike conventional prosthetics, the i-limb Ultra has five individually powered articulating digits, as well as a fully rotatable thumb and wrist, enabling the user to perform a variety of complex grips, according to a news website.
“The first generation (of prosthetics) had what I call a pincer grip -- the fingers are reflexed so they do not change shape and they move in one plane. Whereas what we produced is something that rotates at the knuckles,” explained David Gow, the British inventor and engineer behind i-limb.
As well as the practical benefits afforded by the added range of grips, Gow believes the i-limb carries a significant psychological advantage because finger movements are what most people associate with the human hand.
People who`ve used the i-limb said that they see the digit as what gives them the sense of having a hand back.
Although it can rotate 360 degrees, the i-limb is still far from measuring up to the real thing.
“We can`t approach the subtlety of skin, sensation of temperature, touching things yet. But we`ve broken through the barrier of making a hand that looks like a medical device,” said Gow.
Moreover the i-limb is also prohibitively expensive. Including fitting and training, a hand costs around 100,000 dollars.