iPhone app lets amputees program their own bionic hands

“Double-amputee Jason Koger used to fly hundreds of miles to visit a clinician when he wanted to adjust the grips on his bionic hands,” Kathy Matheson reports for The Associated Press. “Now, he’s got an app.”

“Koger came to Philadelphia this week to demonstrate the i-limb ultra revolution, a prosthetic developed by the British firm Touch Bionics. Using a stylus and an iPhone, Koger can choose any of 24 grip patterns that best suit his needs,” Matheson reports. “It’s the latest evolution in equipment for Koger, a 34-year-old married father of three from Owensboro, Ky., who lost his hands in an all-terrain vehicle accident in 2008. ‘Five years ago, I couldn’t pull my pants up by myself,’ said Koger. ‘Today, I go hunting and do some of the things that I probably never imagined I could have done five years ago.'”

Matheson reports, “The technology indicates how rapidly the field of prosthetics is changing, benefiting patients from injured military members to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Practitioners say increased government research in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is driving some of the advances. In Koger’s case, he was shocked by a downed power line. He went into a coma and had no idea until he woke up three days later that doctors had amputated both his limbs at mid-forearm.”

“The previous version of Koger’s myoelectric device required programming by a prosthetist, meaning Koger had to fly to Advanced Arm Dynamics in Dallas. The prosthetist would work with Koger to pick a few grip patterns – such as pinching, pointing or shaking hands – to program into the i-limb,” Matheson reports. “Yet sometimes Koger would get home and realize they weren’t the ones he needed. Now, the latest i-limb comes with iPhone or iPad app [biosim – Touch Bionics, Inc.] that allows Koger to reprogram his hand… Mark Dowling, 50, of Newark, Del., lost his arm to cancer several months ago. He said he cried while watching Koger demonstrate how the hand worked.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Droooooiiiiid. Oops, rather ironically in this case, here’s yet another innovative, life-changing app that’s iOS-only.


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