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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 15:50 GMT
Bionic hand gives realistic grip
By Fergus Walsh
BBC News, Medical correspondent

Donald MacKillop
Donald MacKillop is delighted with his new hand

What's being billed as the world's most advanced bionic hand has been fitted to a man in Scotland.

The five fingers on the i-LIMB hand are individually powered by separate motors. This allows a better grip and a more realistic look and feel.

Standard prosthetic hands use the thumb and two fingers to produce a simple claw grip.

The first recipient, Donald MacKillop lost his right hand in an industrial accident nearly 30 years ago.

Since then, he's tried a succession of artificial hands - but none have come close to the latest version.

Mr MacKillop said he was now able to pick up a glass with his right hand for the first time in decades.

He said: "It's unbelievable. It is so near fingers, you can do anything with it.

The fact that the fingers can wrap round things, makes life much, much easier
Donald MacKillop

"The fact that the fingers can wrap round things, makes life much, much easier."

The i-LIMB hand was developed by a Scottish company Touch Bionics, and is now being tested at the national centre for prosthetics at Strathclyde University.

Prosthetics expert Bill Dykes said the new hand was a leap forward in technology - but should get even better in a few years.

"In the future we'll have better control systems so that we'll be able to have individual control of the fingers.

"That will mean fingers can be moved at will. With the present system they can only move together."

As yet bionic hands can't match the dexterity of muscle and bone, and are a far cry from the science fiction of the terminator films.

But Mr MacKillop says at last he feels he now has two hands again.


'Bionic' limb breakthrough made
03 Jul 06 |  Health

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