The BeBionic Robotic Hand is a prosthetic that is more functional than other artificial hands - it has a powered wrist, a world's first.
(BeBionic Robotic Hand With Powered Wrist video)
It includes an adult sized hand that is fully articulating and features 4 grip patterns (key grip, power grip, pinch grip and finger point). The hand is controlled in a similar way to other myo-electric hands currently available: A user operates their prosthesis using controlled muscle contraction. Electronics measure electrical changes on the skin covering the control muscles and command individual actuators in the hand to provide the desired movements. Integrated electronics monitor movement of the mechanical elements, ensuring that their motion is smooth and co-ordinated. Operation becomes instinctive once the user has been properly trained to optimise performance. In-house designed software will allow the hand to be customised to each individual user.
The range will also include the world's first powered wrist combining 135 degrees rotation and 35 degrees of both flexion/extension and an advanced silicone skin which will be available in 19 colours with excellent definition and custom fitted nails.
SF fans have been flexing their robotic hands (in imagination, anyway) for quite a while. Consider the robot-surgeon hand From Philip K. Dick's 1955 story War Veteran:
From time to time V-Stephens examined his wristwatch and then turned his attention back to the object crawling up and down the sealed edges of the entrance-lock.
The object moved slowly and cautiously. It had been exploring the lock for twenty-nine hours straight; it had traced down the power leads that kept the heavy plate fused in place... During the last hour it had cut its way throught the rexeroid surface to within an inch of the terminals. The crawling, exploring object was V-Stephen's surgeon-hand, a self-contained robot of precision quality usually joined to his right wrist.
(Read more about the robot-surgeon hand )