In the future, we'll all have cyborg bodies with replaceable parts, right? The transition to immortality, though, may take some getting used to. Touch Bionics has a handy new tool to help us practice.
Showcased at this week's American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association National Assembly in Las Vegas, the Virtu-limb consists of electrodes that pick up electrical signals in arm muscles and a dock for a prosthetic hand that links wirelessly to a PC. It can also be used without the prosthesis.
When a user flexes his or her muscles, the movements are reproduced in a virtual 3D hand on a screen, or in a real i-Limb Pulse, which the company recently renamed i-Limb Ultra.
Clinicians can then determine the best muscle locations for a prosthesis. The Virtu-limb can also be used to train patients on how to use the i-Limb and its features, as well as demonstrate the artificial hand to prospective users.
The i-Limb Ultra's new features include variable grip strength for each digit, customizable gestures, upgraded control software, and an automatic function in which the hand returns to a natural position following inactivity.
I have yet to see an i-Limb user flip the bird, but it would be fun.