Sophisticated bionic hand ‘holds’ benefits, savings for users

Wednesday, Jul 5, 2017,18:47 IST By anju A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Sporting innovative, almost completely in-house designed architecture, a low-cost bionic hand that can help forearm amputees regain a measure of their prior grasping and holding capabilities received an enthusiastic response at a product demonstration here today.

Not only is the prototype potentially much more customisable and user-friendly than products currently available in the market, the 3-D printed device is expected to eventually be priced at a fraction of its competitors’ costs.

“When it hits the market, our creation will probably fetch between Rs 1-1.25 lakh whereas existing bionic hands cost in excess of Rs 10 lakh.

“The reason we are able to pass on the savings to the customer is due to the cost-effective and custom-built tech that has gone into our hand,” CEO of Onbyz, a city-based startup that has developed the device, Sanju Mathew said.

Mathew put the second generation prototype through its paces at a live demo conducted as part of the one-day ‘Disrupt Kerala 2017′ conference held across four venues in Technopark on Wednesday.

The conference, marking the 50th edition of the FAYA:80 tech conclave series, was organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in association with NASSCOM and ICFOSS.

Onbyz’s bionic hand works through electrodes that transmit signal over wires from the intact nerves and muscles in the elbow to a microprocessor that directs the digits to move.

This set-up allows the user to manipulate the hand to grip objects.

While the movement isn’t real-time just yet, the lag between signal input and output is expected to decrease further along the development process.

The third generation device is also expected to make the move to wireless use and charging and include removable batteries that can function for three to four hours at a go without an external power source, a press release said.