At last, a bionic arm that passes the Beer, Egg and Looks Cool tests

Blender mishap man's excellent Blighty-made robo limb


Vid A British man who lost his right forearm in an industrial blending accident has been demonstrating a bionic replacement that's sensitive enough to grasp and pick up eggs without cracking them and strong enough to hold his beer.

RSLSteeper, the British firm behind the BeBionic3 arm and hand, claim it’s the most advanced prosthesis of its type, capable of 14 different grip styles and with a fully rotatable wrist. At its strongest setting it has a grip strength of 140N and weighs about half a kilo.

The carbon-fibre arm uses sensors to detect myoelectric pulses made by twitching the arm muscles and translates those into different actions, which can be programmed in as needed. By varying the intensity of the muscle action, the speed and strength of the aluminium alloy articulated fingers can be altered and controlled to a fine degree.

Six years ago Nigel Ackland, 53, had to have his right forearm amputated after the incident at the precious metals smelting plant where he worked. After six months of treatment and repeated infections he elected to have the forearm removed. He's now trialing the BeBionic3 and showed off its capabilities on video - cracking an egg and pouring himself a beer.

The £25,000 arm does come with an optional life-like sleeve for covering the mechanics of the prosthesis but Ackland told The Sun that he preferred to wear it outside stripped off to display the technology.

"People in the street don’t really know how to react to the fact that you have no arm and as a result you can be left feeling exceptionally withdrawn," he said. "With the Terminator arm people will come up and ask you about it." ®


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