So far, lower arm prostheses often only functioned as a cosmetic disguise to conceal the missing body part. While newer models help the wearer with grip patterns, every hand grip has to be readjusted and newly activated. There is still no prosthetic device that is easy to control and allows a flexible response to objects the wearer is grasping.
In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Dr. Eike Jakubowitz talks about SoftHand and explains its control mechanism and the grasping intelligence that puts this type of flexible prosthetic option "within reach".
Dr. Jakubowitz, we are talking about a prosthetic hand you helped develop at your Institute. Could you briefly tell us what makes this hand so unique?
Dr. Eike Jakubowitz: Our SoftHand Pro is a development that is based on soft robotics and allows robots to grasp and manipulate various objects. We are taking this robotic hand and are working at transforming it into a prosthetic hand. What makes the SoftHand Pro different from earlier prostheses is that it exhibits synergistic hand motion patterns. Thanks to kinematics – i.e., the motion of all fingers combined – this already covers 80 percent of all hand grip patterns. The remaining 20 percent can be achieved thanks to soft robotics features. The fingers of the prosthetic device are flexible to where they adapt their grasp to the shape of the object. This means less effort is required from the patient when it comes to controlling the device. He or she only needs to mentally perform one of two movements – opening or closing the hand - via the forearm stump. In the case of earlier prosthetic hands that feature different grip patterns, patients must first select the right grip pattern to grasp the respective object. This step is eliminated with the SoftHand Pro, making grip motions easier, more natural and smoother. ...
Read the complete interview at MEDICA-tradefair.com!