In recent years, the development of 3D printed hands has greatly improved the lives of persons living with limb loss.
Up until now, however, the prosthetic hands had a flaw. Unlike human hands, they were not able to tell how hot an object was.
The inability to detect temperature can pose a safety hazard to users and many reports have surfaced of 3D hand wearers accidentally spilling too-hot liquids on themselves.
In response, a team of researchers has developed a hand that detects the temperature of an object and lets wearers know when something is too hot, much like a real hand.
With the new hand, when a too-hot object is grasped, it immediately releases its hold on the object and lets the wearer know that the object may not be safe by sending a shock to the person.
“This way, people with disabilities will be able to feel the temperature level of the object.” Lü Siyi of Nankai University in Tianjin, China, explained, “The higher the temperature of the objects, the stronger the ‘electrical stimulation signals’ sent from the micro control panel are. This provides an accurate simulation of what a normal physiological reaction to hot objects will be.”
Right now, the hand is still in the design stage, but it is hoped that in the near future, people with disabilities will benefit from the new technology.
“It is currently undergoing commissioning and testing. I believe that in the future, temperature-sensitive prosthetic hands will help people with disabilities live more independently, reducing the care burden on families,” Siyu said, about the innovative design.
Photo Credit: 3D Print