Breath powers paediatric prosthetic hand – LabOnline

Breath powers paediatric prosthetic hand

MathWorks Australia

By Stéphane Marouani, Country Manager ANZ, Mathworks

Tuesday, 24 October, 2023

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One simple breath and the prosthetic hand closed. Another breath opened the fingers, the movement happening in a heartbeat. “It feels like magic,” a child with an upper limb difference in Bengaluru, India, told the University of Oxford team that made the prototype.

Called Airbender, the wearable upper limb prosthetic is designed to be affordable, comfortable and intuitive for young users. A unique turbine and gearbox optimise torque and revolutions per minute (RPM).

“Body-powered prosthetics only considers the musculoskeletal system,” observed Jeroen Bergmann, an associate professor of engineering sciences who leads the project at the University of Oxford. “I came up with the idea for a breath-powered system after patients and clinicians expressed a need for new devices that are easy to use, especially for children.”

Currently, the most prevalent prosthetic hands rely on technology that hasn’t changed much in more than 200 years. These cable and harness systems require muscular strength to operate.

To develop a breath-powered system, Bergmann recruited postdoctoral biomedical engineering [...]

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