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Scottish Engineer Devises Versatile Hand

le on the NHS in about three years.

Made from light-weight plastic usually found in car engine components, the hand is attached to the arm via a laminated socket.

The socket, which slips over the patient's arm, conceals a rechargeable battery and a pair of electrodes which sit on top of the skin, where they pick up signals destined for the absent hand.

The signals are transmitted to a tiny computer housed in the back of the artificial hand and controls the motors hidden in the fingers.

Small objects such as coins can be picked up between the index finger and thumb, while other grips allow turning a key in a lock, holding a plate and handing over a business card.

So flexible are the fingers that they can open the ring-pull of a soft drink can. Best of all, the wearer doesn't have to do the washing up as it's not totally waterproof.

Phil Newman, of Touch Bionics which developed the hand at Livingstone, Lothian, said: 'For someone born without a hand, seeing their fingers moving is very emotional. And very rewarding for us.'


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