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Turning disabilities into possibilities

A state-of-the-art, bionic hand prosthetic offers upper limb amputees an intuitive, easy-to-use solution for grasping and holding objects.

Health

It is estimated that nearly 3 million people worldwide require a prosthetic arm. Except for the few who can afford high-tech prosthetics, the vast majority must settle for models that offer only limited range of motion and that typically need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. But this could soon change, thanks to a new, state-of-the-art bionic hand prosthesis being developed by the EU-funded Adam’s Hand project. “Our mission is to breathe life into innovative technologies, using them to turn disabilities into new possibilities,” says Giovanni Antonio Zappatore, founder and CEO of BionIT Labs, a medical device technology company based in southern Italy and the project’s lead partner. “The Adam’s Hand device will improve the quality of life of upper limb amputees, resulting in a relevant social impact for individuals and families alike.”

Game-changing technology

Adam’s Hand is a bionic hand prosthesis based on game-changing technology. Instead of the five or six motors used by other bionic devices, Adam’s Hand uses just one. This results in one of the device’s key differentiators, namely, that the user doesn’t have to select any preset grip pattern. Instead, one only has to decide whether to open or close the hand, with the device automatically performing the most suitable grip pattern for each grasped object. “Because the device requires less visual attention to grip an object, it is intuitive and extremely easy to use,” explains Zappatore. “Moreover, the adaptive mechanism allows the grip forces to be equally distributed among the fingers, thus ensuring a firm grip on the grasped objects.” Another key advantage is that the device is significantly lighter, more compact and quieter than currently available bionic devices. It also costs just one third of the price.

Ready to launch

With the support of EU funding, BionIT Labs has successfully defined the technical specifications of the Adam’s Hand pre-series. It also conducted an in-depth competitive analysis, reinforced its IP protection strategy, and created a market entry plan for each targeted country – a process that involved ensuring the device complies with all relevant rules and regulations. The EU project also allowed BionIT Labs to build a stronger, more experienced team. “Thanks to this EU-supported project, our team has a deeper understanding of the context in which we are working and an increased desire to disrupt the prosthetic industry,” concludes Zappatore. “The project also helped us strengthen brand awareness and build trust with our stakeholders.” Adam’s Hand is currently seeking CE marking and preparing to enter the EU market. BionIT Labs will officially launch the device to the public at OTWorld 2020, one of the world’s leading trade shows for orthopaedic, prosthetic and rehabilitation technologies.

Keywords

Adam’s Hand, disabilities, bionic, prosthetics, amputees, BionIT Labs, medical device

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