Indian-origin engineer in Washington develops device for hand function

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014,21:28 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a mechanised human hand that will help facilitate movement and restore the gripping capability of hands following nerve damage.
The device, tested in cadaver hands, is one of the first instruments created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement inside the body, the research done by engineers at Oregon State University said. The new mechanism is a passive technology using a basic pulley that when implanted within a person’s hand will allow more natural grasping function with less use of muscle energy.
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 research shows how the mechanism developed for this problem can produce more natural and adaptive flexion of the fingers in grasping. According to the research, the needed force to close all four fingers around an object was reduced by 45 per cent, and the grasp improvement on an object reduced slippage by 52 per cent.
The long-term potential of such mechanized assistance is profound. In some cases it may indeed be possible to create joints or limbs that mechanically function as well or better than they did originally, Balasubramanian said.
Technology such as this may offer new options to people who have lost the use of their hands due to nerve trauma, and ultimately be expanded to improve function of a wide range of damaged joints in the human body, the report said.