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Inventor of artificial hand sees 'bionic' replacement parts becoming more human

ect the tiny devices from electromagnetic interference and corrosion from bodily fluids, Craelius said. Battery capacity and recharging are also concerns as the devices handle an increasing number of tasks.

"Finally, users who subject themselves to brain implantation of hundreds of electrodes are not going to want bulky plastic sockets for their new bionic limbs," he said. "Creating a more natural integration between the limb and existing bone is going to be vitally important. A human feel is a crucial part of bionic restoration."

Human feel is an area Craelius is addressing in his own work with Dextra, an artificial hand he developed along with a team of Rutgers students and Nian-Crae, Inc. The prosthesis gives a person who has lost a hand natural control of up to five independent artificial fingers. Controlled by electrical signals generated by the user's remaining muscles and tendons, Dextra has been demonstrated to permit such complex hand activities as typing and piano playing. It has a plastic socket that encases an amputee's upper limb and some of the processing and communication is handled by a device worn outside the body.

"Right now we are miniaturizing the human-machine interface to help make Dextra feel more natural," Craelius said.


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Contact: Bill Haduch
bhaduch@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
7-Feb-2002


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