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Medicine Robotics Technology

Man Demonstrates His New Bionic Hand 124

digitaldc writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "Last year, Patrick, a 24-year-old Austrian, decided to have his dysfunctional hand amputated and replaced with a bionic hand. He lost the use of his left hand after being electrocuted at work. Here he demonstrates the extra movement his new bionic hand has given him, opening a bottle and tying his shoelaces, and tests a prototype hand which will give him additional wrist movement."
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Man Demonstrates His New Bionic Hand

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  • Score +1 for George Lucas' foresight, further proof that 'The Empire Strikes Back' is the best move of all time...OF ALL TIME! ;)
  • "Electrocute" means "kill by electricity".
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      "Electrocute" means "kill by electricity".

      Not seeing a problem, sounds like it killed the nerves pretty effectively. Not sure why gangrene didn't set in on the other tissues resulting in immediate amputation, maybe it did, and all but the nerve tissue (obviously) recovered?

    • by Ferzerp ( 83619 )

      Language changes over time. In fact, the OED agrees with the more modern definiton. Dictionaries cannot agree if it can mean to injure even.

      Since the OED is a paid site, here is another one referencing the OED defintion. []

    • Even worse, from the second sentence of TFA #1:

      "The patient, called "Milo", aged 26, lost the use of his right hand in a motorcycle accident a decade ago."

      The patients in the 2 linked articles are different people.
      • Wait, sorry, it's more confusing. The first linked BBC article has 2 stories in 1 article, and this guy was the second story. Is that sort of thing common?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, it's fairly common on the BBC - it's called giving depth to a story/article.

          The article is about bionic hands, it gives two examples in the form of 2 different patients - separates them with a sub-header and offers a video for each. What's the confusing part?

    • Actually "Electrocute" means to injure or kill by electricity. -- New Oxford American Dictionary
    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      I thought it meant Carmen Electra.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Pedant: n. 3, a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.

      More commonly, electrocution is a shock requiring serious medical attention OR that causes death. If it merely leads to serious swearing, we just call it a shock. Words shift in meaning over time. Sometimes it's unfortunate, sometimes harmless.

      How often would you expect a dresser covered in toxic mold to be called "nice" because it's perfectly plumb, level, and square?

  • I think you mean "shocked."
    • by tepples ( 727027 )
      Then what's the correct term for an electric shock that causes permanent but nonlethal damage to living tissue?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Then what's the correct term for an electric shock that causes permanent but nonlethal damage to living tissue?

        Shocked really fucking badly.

      • Then what's the correct term for an electric shock that causes permanent but nonlethal damage to living tissue?

        Something other than "electrocute."

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Electrocute. at least according to the noobs at oxford.

    • As mentioned above:

      The New Oxford American Dictionary defined "electrocute" as "to injure or kill by electricity."

    • This issue had come up before, and I was surprised that "electrocute" is supposed to mean killed by electricity, supposedly as a combination (sorry, sorry, sorry, I'm so fucking sorry, I mean portmanteau, how dare I use a perfectly functional English word when we have a French one) of "electric" and "execute" (even though it was being used in cases where victims weren't being executed, but whatever).

      That had surprised me because I had always seen it used to mean any electric shock. Which would seem to give

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While I applaud the medical benefits of this research, I worry about the implications. If this becomes cost effective, insurance will strong arm people into replacement surgery instead of giving them a helping hand.

    • If this becomes cost effective, insurance will strong arm people into replacement surgery instead of giving them a helping hand.

      You mean that they will still give you a helping hand, only literally instead of figuratively?

    • I'm obviously missing something, but to me it seems like a better solution for these two might be some sort of prosthetic assistance to the natural hand rather than a full amputation? Some sort of robotic "glove" that was wired into the nerves that will be used for the artificial hand, but fit over the dead natural hand might have allowed for them to keep the keep the limb, avoid possible side affects like phantom limb pain, and potentially regain natural use in later life when some hitherto unforeseen adv

      • One of the patients did test a 'hybrid hand' for a while and then opted for the amputation. In the picture it looks like a whole separate hand sitting just below his non-functioning biological hand. I suspect the answer to your question is that within the limits of today's technology, a prosthetic placed -around- the immobile hand would look and work nothing like a real hand. Think of the exoskeletions in Aliens for instance. Would it make sense to keep the immobile hand if it meant walking around with
      • Unless Tony Stark designs builds and pays for it I doubt that it will ever happen. I'd like to see research into artificially bypassing damaged nerves though. I could imagine someone figuring out how to perform all the various grips using the guys real hand. He could have like an API for all the muscles they wired up.
      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        If he had any sensation in his hand, perhaps. If not, then it would just lead to trouble. As others pointed out, the exoskeleton might be too big and heavy to be useful.

        In his case, it took a nerve transplant just to get any part of his arm working and it has been long enough to regenerate to his hand if it was going to.

    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      >> Cybernetics is getting out of hand

      Dat's a gude vun!

    • With Obamacare in effect, they will probably recommend aspirin instead of any kind of hand. Use the cheapest solution so that government funds will be available where they are most wanted, like buying pictures of Jesus statues in bottles of urine.

  • The summary (and later in the article):

    He lost the use of his left hand after being electrocuted at work.

    The article:

    The patient, a Serbian national who has lived in Austria since childhood, suffered injuries to a leg and shoulder when he skidded off his motorcycle and smashed into a lamppost in 2001 while on holiday in Serbia.

    Milo used a hybrid hand before deciding on the operation
    While the leg healed, what is called a "brachial plexus" injury to his right shoulder left his right arm paralysed. Nerve tissue transplanted from his leg by Professor Aszmann restored movement to his arm but not to his hand.

    I don't get it. Are they talking about two different people in the same article? They seem to be referencing the same person, but for some reason writing two articles on the same page about it.

    I'm confused, I think.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by barrtender ( 1930830 )

      Oh, it is two different people. I need to read closer.

      A is 24, B is 26. A left hand, B is right hand. A was electrocuted, B was in an accident.

      This article was kind of confusingly laid out, but I understand now. Go ahead and mark this thread down for "inability to read".

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        It takes two to communicate, you didn't do half as bad trying to read it as the guy who wrote it. Except for the long words you'd almost think a grade school kid wrote it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There are two separate articles. The summary isn't very good.

  • Am I the only one who finds that kind of disappointing? Had he chopped off a perfectly good hand in favor of bionics he would have been king of the geeks for at least a day.
    • by Ruke ( 857276 )
      To be fair, the prosthetic is kind of crap compared to a normally functioning human hand. Give it twenty years, though, and I'm sure there'll be quite a market for utility limbs.
      • Did you watch the video? It's pretty damn impressive. Albeit, he might not be able to type or knit or something else involving complex motor movement. It has a "coooool" factor to it for sure.
      • To be fair, the prosthetic is kind of crap compared to a normally functioning human hand.

        That that sentence is worth saying at all really just says how far we've come.

        • how long ago was it they wanted to prevent a man with no legs running in the olympics because they thought he'd have an unfair advantage?

        • Yeah, it's funny, I'm a relative old-timer on /. and I recall probably just a bit over ten years ago having interesting discussions right here about the exciting 'future' possibilities of prosthetics, that 'one day we would be able to build functioning replacement hands' etc. We've really come full circle if the kids on /. now mundanely talk about how crap this or that prosthetic hand is. Not long ago this was the stuff of pure science fiction, stuff we dreamed about as kids, when I watched this video I was

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )

      he would have been king of the geeks for at least a day

      No. He would have been a complete dumbass and suitably derided as such. Presently, upper limb prostheses can be replacements for lost or damaged limbs; they are not upgrades. Amputees can do quite well with their prostheses, and there are continual improvements coming along. But no one would claim that there's a prosthesis out there that matches, let alone exceeds, the human hand in more than one or two of a few dozen measures.

    • You'd have trouble finding a doctor to agree to that. The ones that would agree to it wouldn't be ones I'd trust to take a knife to me.

  • Herr Doktor Merwerdichliebe, is that you!?!

  • Reminds me of Deus Ex and Sarif Industries video that Edios just put out. []
    • I played the original Deus Ex again recently, and I can only hope that the new one doesn't end up being as creepy 10 years from now as the old one is now. I ended up mentally substituting DHS for UNATCO everywhere it came up, and the thing still made perfect sense.

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        The story itself is as old as humanity i guess. A highly groomed soldier finding that the people he fights for is nothing like the claims of nobility he have been raised to believe in.

  • What kind of WPM can he get with that thing?

  • but the next thing you know, he'll be fighting off fembots with bigfoot.

  • by wren337 ( 182018 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @02:01PM (#36168666) Homepage

    Better, Stronger - Faster

  • Not quite as awesome as the augmentations in the latest Deus Ex installment, but we're getting pretty damn close.

  • Can he use his new robotic hand to deploy and build mini-sentries?

  • Bionic hand - that is OK and could do many people a lot of good, but how long do we have until a bionic head gets installed? And what would s bionic head mean? For me - abandon ship, abandon ship...
  • Wow this guy would be the king of using screwdrivers. Lucky bastard.

    • If one was the mechanical or handyman type it could have the screwdriver/nutdriver version :) Instead of flex and open/close it would do left/right and magnetize/demagnetize. Give em time and the hand should be removable while the sensors stay put making it easy. Even simpler: add an attachement for the middle finger :O

      I probably should not suggest the impact wrench option around you folks tho ;p

      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        I wonder if it would be anything like the Mr. Studd implant from Cyberpunk 2020.

        "All night, every night. And she will never know" as the description goes.

  • Name's Ash. Housewares.

  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @02:51PM (#36169314)

    Practice on a hotdog first.

  • I have had a thought in the back of my head ever since I had started hearing about these prostetic arms.
    How long before someone will use it as a third upper limb? The brain should(?) be able to integrate this after some training.
    You could attach it above the waist or somehow above your shoulder.
    Imagine typing with 2 hands and speaking on the phone or puring your self a glass of water :)
    Yes, I'd try one :)
    If I'm thinking of this, I can't be the only one. Should be easier to try than implanting a web cam
    • by tgd ( 2822 )

      Strange, having two hands on my keyboard sounds good, but talking on the phone wasn't my first thought for what to do with the other hand.

  • I am happy for him and wish he could have had his own hand fully working. But as a minimun shouldn't you get the ability to crush metal in your bare hand as a side benefit. And I don't mean a coke can.

  • Some days later, he was treated for massive friction burns on his dick. "It was great until I started smelling smoke," he said.
  • From a section of the text article ( addressing "Milo", the latest recipient of this type of operation (not the guy shown in the video article):
    "But Professor Aszmann has faced opposition in some quarters, with senior colleagues even requesting he cancel this latest operation - requests the professor promptly rejected."

    The Professor's reason for continuing seemed interesting for me - "Milorad is now 26 years old and he wants to go on with his life. To b

  • I think I just found his theme song [] :)

    (Info: Romeo Knight []'s remix of Bionic Commando [] stage 1 music)

  • I live with Poland's Syndrome [] and (even though I love life and would hate to have something harder to deal with) I would love to be able to replace my non-functioning side with this.

    Yes, I have a hand and arm, but I can't wait till the day when I can use it like everyone else.

    I just hope they have all the connecting bits strong enough. Not having full use of that side of my body for so many years has to be compensated for in order to account for the extra strain.

    I imagine that Austrian guy must be ecstatic

  • FTFA:

    Before the first operation, the professor held a symposium to discuss the procedure, to which senior surgeons and a theologian were invited.

    A theologian? What?

    • The University of Vienna has enough religious history that when they were looking for an ethicist, that's probably the first thing that came to mind. I'd of probably gone with a philosopher, myself.

    • If the hand turned out to be possessed, then they need to discuss safe ways of disabling/removing it before it does any lasting damage.

  • []

    Hail to the King Baby!


  • Cause that sounds like a pretty cool hand. If he'd been, he could've gotten a pretty nifty nickname, like say... Cool Hand Luke?

    Oh, right. You were probably going for the Star Wars reference.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.