From Lifelike Artificial Limbs to Brain-Operated Bionic Arms

By: Laura McQuarrie - Jul 9, 2015
In contrast to cosmetic or passive prosthetic devices, these active prostheses make the most of technology to provide people with disabilities better flexibility, sensations, control and an enhanced range of motions in their daily lives.

Before 3D printing was used to create custom prostheses, typically the process was costly in terms of time and money, especially if the aids were quickly outgrown. This technology now makes it possible for anyone to create their own bespoke designs, such as Fraser Leid's Printed Prehensile concept, which mimics the structure of the 27 bones that make up the human hand to closely recreate how this part of the skeleton looks and functions.

Other noteworthy innovations include artificial limbs developed by Austrian scientists that are capable of being bonded to nerve endings to reduce the feeling of having phantom limbs. Additionally, the Bebionic3 arm enables 360-degree wrist rotations and precise finger movements for better control.