A WEST Lothian-based company this week unveiled the world’s first bionic finger.
Touch Bionics in Livingston announced the commercial launch of ProDigits, the first powered bionic finger for people with missing digits.
The company also created the i-LIMB Hand, used by many soldiers who had lost a hand while in combat.
Its creators say the ProDigits finger will offer life-changing technology to patients whose finger is missing either due to congenital conditions or amputation from an accident or medical condition.
The company estimates around 52,000 people in the EU and 1.2 million worldwide could benefit from the technology.
Not having fingers or a thumb can make simple tasks like holding a fork or a cup difficult and frustrating. But with the ability to bend, touch, pick-up and point, the ProDigits finger can help reflect the function of a natural hand.
In an industrial accident, Michael Bailey lost three of the fingers on his left hand. He also lost half of the rest of his hand and five of the eight bones in his wrist.
But Michael said he found adapting to ProDigits incredibly easy and is relishing his new lease of life.
“Honestly, I had only put it on for five minutes and I was getting it to work just fine,” he said. “It feels like it belongs there, like it’s part of me.”
The ProDigits technology has never been commercially available in the prosthetics industry before. Sockets are custom-designed and fabricated by clinicians to suit each individual’s specific needs.
Stuart Mead, CEO of Touch Bionics said: “Vocational and social re-engagement is very important to a patient’s rehabilitation after a traumatic event. Partial hand injuries are, by their nature, challenging aesthetically and functionally.
“With ProDigits, our goal is to provide all that we can to reinstate a patient’s function and interaction with other people in their chosen lifestyle and career.”