Robotic prosthesis mimics 50 per cent of human hand movements

In partnership with The European Commission

Copyright euronews

Italian designer Maria Fossati was born with a malformation in her left arm and is one of the patients testing a new prosthesis model at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy.

Simple and affordable prosthesis

The Soft Hand Pro technology is being developed as part of the European Softhand project, which aims to design a simple, lightweight and affordable prosthesis for most people. “The hand is flexible and adaptable. It’s a relief for the person using it because the user can interact with the prosthesis and with other people. We can shake hands or caress, for example,” explained Maria Fossati, a designer at the Italian Institute of Technology.

The bodily intelligence of the brain and muscles

The prosthesis was developed in collaboration with hospitals in Zurich, Switzerland and Hanover, Germany. “Our way of interacting with the environment is not just linked to the nerve cells in our brain, it’s also linked to our body. There is a link between the intelligence of our brain and our muscles through our nervous and sensory systems,” explained Antonio Bicchi, robotics engineer at the Italian Institute of Technology and coordinator of the European Softhand project.

The researchers have designed a system that integrates joints similar to those of the human hand, capable of adapting to the shape and weight of objects.