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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Look For In a Prosthetic Hand?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the swiss-army-fingers dept.

Medicine 173

Arglebarf writes "A family member is recovering from a serious illness and, unfortunately, the medication that saved her life will probably cost her hands and feet. She is an artist by trade, so this is a pretty big deal. Replacement prostheses might restore a degree of independence, as well as enabling her to continue with her creative passions. Do any Slashdotters have experience with replacement hands? What features do you look for? Do any models allow you tweak the software for fine tuning? Beyond the day-to-day uses, she will want something that can hold small objects precisely (e.g. a paintbrush)."

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173 comments

What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (4, Funny)

nopainogain (1091795) | about a year ago | (#43669779)

a cold beer!

Re:What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#43669827)

Self lubrication.

Re:What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670271)

Silly. It is for a girl. You look for both self lubrication AND a vibrating tip.

Re:What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671353)

Did anyone say "vagina" yet?

Re:What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43669891)

No, ability to handle a hot dog without it being crushed!

...

I mean, it's important to my job. Of encased meats specialist.

Also masturbating.

Re:What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670097)

so... another vote for self lubrication

Re: What do I look for in a prosthestic hand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671747)

Disposable thumbs

A nice grip... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669795)

For holding... uh... hammers, and other tube like things. Not too loose, definitely not too firm, and able to quickly move back and forth.

How about (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669799)

A prosthetic bird

I'd look for a transplant (4, Interesting)

Brandano (1192819) | about a year ago | (#43669849)

If at all possible. It isn't too far fetched, hand and forearm transplants have been made, and have even achieved sensorial feedback.

Re:I'd look for a transplant (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670459)

There is no doubt in my mind that for now, transplant wont be an option. It is experimental and, probably more important, risky. I don't think you can be a candidate until you are stable and able to bear the stress of the transplant. The kinds of illness which she may have are unlikely to be compatible with all the surgery and anti-rejection drugs needed for transplant.

Dean Kamen - Luke (5, Informative)

iiii (541004) | about a year ago | (#43669879)

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, has been working on much more functional prosthetics. He named his bionic arm "Luke", an obvious reference we can all appreciate. Demos of it look pretty amazing. Here's the official page for it: http://www.dekaresearch.com/deka_arm.shtml [dekaresearch.com] Also google "Kamen Luke Arm" and you find lots of pix, vids and articles about it.

Re:Dean Kamen - Luke (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43670193)

Re:Dean Kamen - Luke (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43670249)

Had Been. Is no more.

Reading comprehension fail. The person who died was the owner of the segway company, one Jimi Heselden, not Dean Kamen.

Heselden, chairman of Hesco Bastian and a former miner who earned millions from defense contracts, purchased the Segway company in early 2010.

Gi Joe Kung Fu Grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669885)

and maybe a bottle opener

My car keys (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669911)

Anybody seen them?

Not a hand (1)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#43669973)

A sturdy socket, and a 3D printer. While highly dexterous neurally controlled arms and hands are in development, they're far from an off-the-shelf option. For specific uses (e.g. holding various artists tools) you may well be better off with some sort of magnetic socket on a stump cup, and a rack of special purpose end manipulators for each tool.

Re:Not a hand (2)

Psychofreak (17440) | about a year ago | (#43670253)

Spring clip instead of a magnet on a ball joint or two and off-the-shelf art supplies can be used.

Sadly hand technology is not advancing at the same pace as leg/foot technology.

Phil

Opportunity? (-1, Troll)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#43669987)

I can't be the only one who's thinking it needs to support a Fleshlight attachment...

Re:Opportunity? (5, Insightful)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#43670039)

I can't be the only one who's thinking it needs to support a Fleshlight attachment...

This prosthetic hand is for a woman, who is going to lose her hands. Are you fucking serious that this is the best thing you can think of to say?

Mouth will probably work better than prosthetics (5, Informative)

Big_Breaker (190457) | about a year ago | (#43670011)

For paint brushes and other small items I imagine holding them in her mouth will work better than current prosthetic hands.

You may be thinking about the robotic hands you can see in research clips but most available prosthetics are simple devices that open and close with a turn of the forearm.

The robotic hands suffer from difficulty getting a "close/open hand" signal from the brain. Implanted electrodes are all to some degree incompatible with human tissue and degrade over time. Sensors to read electrical signals through the skin are imprecise. Some versions use buttons manipulated by other body parts (likely toes in this case) but these are not in the mainstream.

The old fashion two finger hooks seem to be the most practical answer for a lot of people. They are cheaper, durable, don't require batteries and can do a lot of useful things with any fine motor manipulation.

A human hand is a marvel of biological engineering. Sadly it is tough to replicate in a prosthetic. Perhaps she would be a good candidate for a transplant down the road? Prosthetics may improve more quickly with so many vets having suffered limb loss. To date lower limb prosethetics seem to be well ahead of hands/arms in terms of matching the original limb's functionality. Lots of "below the knee" single amputies have no obvious impairment in terms of gait.

Re:Mouth will probably work better than prosthetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671427)

My handless Uncle had two finger hooks, could drive a car, painted with his teeth though. more precise control afaict really admired his paintings.

Upgradability, replaceability & interchangabil (4, Insightful)

schwep (173358) | about a year ago | (#43670013)

Technology is moving very fast. State of the art today won't be in 5 year. I would want a system that I could disconnect the replacement part(s) and connect up new ones without surgery. This also allows for custom limbs for specific tasks. Holding a brush may be a custom limb. I may also want a custom chainsaw arm, too.

I want flexibility for change & all the specifications for the mating connector to my body to be open source or license/patent free so I can have custom limbs made. I want a copy of the specs for the same reason.

Re:Upgradability, replaceability & interchanga (3, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43670181)

I may also want a custom chainsaw arm, too.

I think S-Mart sells those in the landscaping section.

Re:Upgradability, replaceability & interchanga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670477)

Groovy.

Re:Upgradability, replaceability & interchanga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671303)

Well, the recipient is an artist so she might want to go to the portrait section.

Re:Upgradability, replaceability & interchanga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670279)

I like the way you're thinking.

I'd also stress to the surgeon that I would want to retain as much living tissue -- especially nerve and muscle tissue -- as possible, keeping in mind the potential for next-generation prostheses as well as breakthroughs regenerative medicine. The more healthy, natural tissue remaining, the better your chances, in terms of making use of future medical technology.

Re:Upgradability, replaceability & interchanga (2)

mrxak (727974) | about a year ago | (#43671369)

One benefit to the wars we've been fighting, is the advancement of trauma-related medical technology. So many soldiers are surviving injuries that would have killed them in previous generations, leaving them with missing limbs instead. This in turn is advancing prosthetic technology quite a bit.

I expect that we'll see some really great prosthetics on the market over the next couple decades that will put existing ones to shame. Whatever prosthetic this family member gets in the immediate future, she'll probably be able to upgrade to something that improves her quality of life dramatically fairly soon regardless.

Re:Upgradability, replaceability & interchanga (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#43671453)

I may also want a custom chainsaw arm, too.

Groovy

Anyway, opensource or licence/patent free commercial artificial limbs, while technically possible, I believe are practically impossible at lest for now. Legislation(FDA, etc) on this tech is the harshest and from my experience as a medical engineer they don't like any time of user customization (and for valid reasons, for MOST of the time). You might be able to build your own from scratch or buy compatible parts from some unlicensed(or pirate) vendor in the future, but most likely it will void all warranty and insurance you have on the prosthetic device.

Just remember advanced features... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670021)

... will cost an arm and a leg.

What kind of artist? (4, Informative)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43670027)

If you need touch, you might want to consider Krukenberg hands, which are gruesome to Westerners but are often the only viable option for many people.

I'll let you google it whenever you feel ready. Some people are more sensitive than others.

Re:What kind of artist? (3, Interesting)

spopepro (1302967) | about a year ago | (#43670185)

Indeed, it is a challenge to get used to at first, but after going to school with a major burn survivor who had the krukenberg procedure on both arms and was able to win the audition to be the drummer in the top jazz band at a prestigious music school for multiple years, it seems like the procedure allows amputees to do more than any prosthesis.

Re:What kind of artist? (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43670263)

It seems that way to me. Until we can get the knowledge to get the human body to "sprout" new limbs like a lowly axolotl, that is.

Re:What kind of artist? (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year ago | (#43670621)

After reading about them, I can't help but wonder whether an interesting prosthetic compromise might be to somehow attach muscle fibers to implanted force-feedback strain gauges, then use the strain-gauge readings to control the hand itself (possibly in conjunction with all-electrical sensors used with other nerves to provide additional control. In other words, instead of pulling on bones, the muscles would pull on artificial ligaments cemented onto strain gauges attached to some kind of stretchy/springy plastic that itself is attached to a worm gear that moves the far point closer or farther from the muscle to alter the resistance.

For finer control (like individual fingers), it would take an idea from the way HTC's hybrid mechanical-capacitive switches used on their last few Windows Mobile and early Android phones worked. Basically, they used capacitive means to determine WHERE (approxiamtely) you were touching the phone, but used an actual switch triggered by a press anywhere in the region to determine when you actually intended to fire a switch event.

In a similar manner, the hand's controller could attempt to discern things like individual finger control by sensing the nerve bundle directly to come up with blunt motions, but sanity-check it in realtime against the muscle-triggered strain gauge, and use fuzzy logic to correlate patterns of nerve activity with specific variants of strain-gauge muscle tension to produce an intended action (so the actual finger, for instance, curled in direct response to the real-world forearm muscle pulling on the implanted strain gauge).

The problem with non-mechanical nerve interfaces is that they basically have the same kind of problems that capacitive touchscreens do... terrible signal to noise ratio and processing latency compared to real-world direct actuation. Nerves aren't like switch-triggered wires in a harness... they're more like a bundle of coax carrying multiplexed spread-spectrum QPSK signals with unbelievable amounts of background noise. By directly interfacing a few muscles with strain gauges, we can bypass the hundred (give or take) years of R&D it's going to take to get signal processing up to the point where it really needs to be, and just take advantage of the signal processing that the forearm muscles ALREADY HAVE to pick out the right signals and translate them into commands for the prosthetic hand.

Spanktron 3000 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670031)

A builtin lotion dispenser would be nice.

add ons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670033)

clock
alarm
flash drive
multiple tool fingertips (screwdrivers, torx, etc)
quick detach in case of emergency
tethering for extended gripping (hand still grips while detached, tether is strong enough to support X-hundred pounds, but still detachable under load)
spike knuckles
e-ink subdermal display
built in wifi
camera
cellular phone
smuggling compartment
brazing torch
built in stungun (not tazer)
dermal blade for cutting the ropes
fine manipulators/extensible micro-hand
breathalyzer (great for parties, just blow in the thumb!)
digital audio recorder

Think Bond, go nuts. Make them inexpensive and specialized for specific needs. Swap hands for different jobs. Just like you do with 2 human hands.

captcha: crochet ....touche Captcha, touche....

Inflatable fingers for the ladies lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670035)

And fake money shot capabilities :)

Where am I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670069)

Did I click the Ebaums bookmark?

Read this as (-1)

hduff (570443) | about a year ago | (#43670103)

Read this as "What Would You Look For In a Prostitute Handie?" so I've got nothing for the OP. . .

most prosthetics are awful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670241)

If funds are not an issue, look into this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeted_reinnervation

Dean Kamen's Luke arm. (1)

DMJC (682799) | about a year ago | (#43670323)

Contact Dean Kamen and ask about his Luke Robotic arm, it's a long shot as it was a DARPA funded ultra tech project, but you might be able to get somewhere if your family is rich.

I see what you are trying to do ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670351)

but consider this : a replacement hand wil never give her back what she already had. It wil always feel worse compared to the original. It may be better to focus on what is left, than on what was lost. There's plenty of artists using mouth or feet in stead. Encourage her to exploit being different and do things differently.

Secondly remberer that all her skillz reside in her brain even after having lost the hand/limb. It may be more easy relocating those skillz to an other part of her natural body than trying to reenact things with an artificial extension.

 

I have an idea. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670367)

Ask the fucking prosthetics guy that will get/make her a new one when the time comes. I mean he is qualified to actually give opinions. How many people on here that would respond to you are going to actually have a prosthetic or even know anything about how they work/perform in the real world? None. Im sure some will say they have one or "Know a friend of a friends former roomates neighbor that one" but bottom line is they don't know dick.

This question is as stupid as asking for legal advice online in a murder trial. Its the internet, 98% of your answers will come from people who don't know shit but think they do.

Re:I have an idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670489)

Ask the fucking prosthetics guy that will get/make her a new one when the time comes.

Insurance doesn't cover a "fucking prosthetics guy". If she's lucky her insurance company will buy her a hook. If got something so bad as to need whatever drugs are killing her hands and feet, the insurance company probably figures she's lucky enough that obamacare removed the lifetime caps and they were hoping she'd run out of benefits so they could drop her to die, so they'll give her the runaround for the next five years, then buy her one hook (pick a limb).

Or, she's a wealthy artist paying cash for four limbs, probably $20k+ each, though if her art isn't interpretive dance, she might go for cheap legs and focus on the hands.

What medication? (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43670549)

>medication that saved her life will probably cost her hands and feet.

What kind of medication causes you to lose your hands and feet?

Mod UP! (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | about a year ago | (#43670623)

I second this -- there is nothing that can give her the full functionality of hands or feet. But if that can be avoided by a horde of Slashdotters googling for alternatives to this medicine, that'd be better.

Re:What medication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671157)

pressors, often used when a patient is very sick to maintainn

SAVE THE NERVES! Sorry for shouting but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671741)

Sorry for shouting. But save the nerves. I run a regen med research lab, and there is lots of cool stuff coming down the pipe. I know, I know, Real Soon Now, but advancements are on the way. The big limitation is going to be nerves though. No matter how much cool stuff we put together with artificial bone and patient-specific stem-cell derived muscles etc, it's all moot if you can't control it properly, and the nerves, for a variety of reasons, will be the hardest part to regenerate.

Fortunately, there has been some really interesting work done in terms of rerouting the nerves (both motor and sensory) - basically, if the nerves don't attach to anything, they die. But, if before you amputate, you take the nerves and move the ends over so they now lie against skin and muscle etc that will not be amputated, the cells remain alive (and functional). This has lots of interesting applications in terms of interfacing with prosthetics, but also in 5 or 10 years (or longer, if so - sorry, everything is often slower and more complex than we hope), this means the nerves are still there, waiting to be connected to the regenerated limb. Here is one paper that discusses it in more detail:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685921/

I don't want to give you too much false hope about where the technology is going - I am very excited about the potential, but there are still a number of obstacles. So, live for today, but there is hope for tomorrow as well.

MU

Asking the wrong crowd (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year ago | (#43670631)

Given the theme of this website and the users that theme attracts, there will likely be few traditional artists, and of those, a ridiculously small segment with any experience using a prosthetic hand.

If you wanted to know which type of prosthetic hand can best run a Model M, maybe /. is the place.

First, ask her what will be important. She'll be using the thing.

Then, ask fora dedicated to prostheses and artists what they suggest.

Unless your question is about BitCoin and I misread it, in which case I apologize.

"She is an artist by trade... (1)

SupplyMission (1005737) | about a year ago | (#43670661)

...so this is a pretty big deal."

As if it would NOT be a big deal for anybody else?

Re:"She is an artist by trade... (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#43671209)

...so this is a pretty big deal."

As if it would NOT be a big deal for anybody else?

If you were a street beggar then having a limb or two missing might be good for business.

(sorry OP, that's probably in bad taste, but not any more so than the masturbation threads.)

Answer and Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670823)

Personally, I would go with the stump. Create an attachment that can hold a brush and learn to paint using arm and body movements.

What medication takes someone's hands and feet?

look at the johns hopkins prototype (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | about a year ago | (#43670949)

Do a youtube search for "prostetic arm johns hopkins" and you will get an idea of what is possible. It is controlled by the patients own nervous system an has every degree of freedom a normal hand has. There are 54 processors in the hand alone. It would be great for an artist. It unfortunatly is still a prototype unless you have enough determination to get into the testing program. I wish you luck, as I woud like to see everyone benifit from this program asap.

Manny's hand (2)

camg188 (932324) | about a year ago | (#43671001)

You ever read "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress"? I'd want one like Manny's, with interchangeable tools.

it's for a woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671101)

Well, then I look for no features. I can't be jacked off with artificial hands! If she wants to be like T-Bag from Prison Break then that's her choice. But if she is ever to give me a hand-job, she better get human hands implanted.... FEMALE human hands.

Re:it's for a woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671159)

Yeah guys, if they're not real human hands, it would be worse than LT. COMMANDER DATA jacking you off!! Seriously... what's all this about self-lubrication ? ewwwww... robotic hand? come on!

Robohand (2)

PaddyM (45763) | about a year ago | (#43671145)

I saw some things here:
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/5-year-old-gets-3-d-printed-robohand-internet-collaborators-1B8242915 [nbcnews.com]

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44150 [thingiverse.com]

I'm not sure if it would work for an artist, but it is supposed to be low-cost.

Must have: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671171)

Interoperability with existing hands.

Re:Must have: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671751)

"Have you ever looked at your hands? They can touch anything but themselves." Touches hands together "Whoa!"

"They call them fingers, but you never see them fing"

BeBionic might be what you're looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671179)

http://bebionic.com/
Check this out. Some pretty good demonstrations of tying shoes, holding various things. I haven't looked into prosthetics much but this one really caught my eye.

How about a hand with a built-in paintbrush? (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | about a year ago | (#43671289)

Just like amputee athletes have prosthetic legs specialized for running which they don't use for walking around on a day-to-day basis, she might benefit from a prosthetic specifically made to hold a paintbrush, or one where the end of it actually is a paintbrush. That could be both cheaper and more usable than a prosthetic hand which attempts to use intricate finger controls to try to hold a paintbrush.

Re:How about a hand with a built-in paintbrush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671577)

Good thinking. Actually any prosthetic that could have a small hole drilled in the end, where a paintbrush with a rubber band around the stick portion could be fit into the hole...this would allow easier replacement when working on different types of strokes.

Fast Developments in Open Source Prosthetics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671479)

This market is moving rapidly and function keeps improving.

As one example "5-year-old [Liam] is missing parts of his right hand, and this open-source prosthetic hand has given him a jolt of increased function. The video clip after the break shows him on the third day with the device. He’s practicing picking up coins from a stack using the hand. Just $150 in parts, combined with the hard work and good nature of the developers, made this possible." http://hackaday.com/2013/02/08/3d-printed-prosthetic-hand-helps-out-for-about-150/

For lower limbs, Jaipur Foot/Leg/Knee have had incredible performance for being inexpensive http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaipur_foot
"Sudha Chandran, an Indian actress and dancer, lost her limb in an accident in 1982. She was fitted with the Jaipur Foot and started dancing once again; her journey is the theme of the Telugu 1984 film Mayuri (Peahen), remade into a 1986 Hindi film, Naache Mayuri (Peahen Dancing). Both the films starred Sudha."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaipur_foot

With these rates of change, a replacement every two years would, I think, make sense. The idea of using specific appliances makes a lot of sense.

Hope she heals and that this is a mood discussion.

If it is painting that you love... (1)

Xifer (2763577) | about a year ago | (#43671639)

A simple clip to hold the paintbrush is sufficient. In fine arts painting, the finger tips are still, and most of the guidance comes from the arm and body movements as in classical fencing. Monet in old age had very gnarled hands from arthritic joints and had to have his family strap the long handled brushes to his wrists so that he could continue painting in the loveliness of his gardens.

The killer feature, would give my left hand for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671655)

A USB port so I can type faster than actually using my hand?

This is slashdot (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year ago | (#43671687)

The vast overwhelming majority of users would look for accurate fast repeatable action.

After all, The Internet Is For Porn.
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