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Bionics offers hope to amputees

Technology helps give independence to those who have lost limbs in accidents or conflicts

Helping hand
Image Credit: Supplied picture
Touch Bionics will be exhibiting the world's first bionic fingers at the Arab Health Congress starting on Monday in Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: Until recently it was hard for those with missing fingers to perform simple daily activities as typing, buttoning a shirt or brushing teeth.

Using bionic technology, a company is offering total independence to those who have lost fingers and hands due to either accidents or in military conflicts.

Touch Bionics will exhibit its next generation technology at the Arab Health Congress starting on Monday in Dubai.

The device uses the electrical signals from the forearm and converts them to mechanical-electrical energy to operate the bionic fingers, which can perform various functions as gripping a bottle, holding an ATM card or applying lipstick.

It will also introduce a product called LivingSkin, that closely resembles natural skin and is custom painted to match any skin tone. Earlier, only Caucasian skin tones were available, now the skin tone can be custom-made and even freckles added. Cosmesis is the process by which this product is applied.

"Now a person can return to society as complete as possible," Phil Newman, director of marketing, said from the UK in a phone interview. But while LivingSkin will look like the real thing, it does not yet give the user a feeling of touch and sensation.

The bionic fingers were introduced into the market late last year and offers five articulating fingers, including a rotating thumb.

Plastic surgeons here say they see a number of construction workers who have lost fingers or have had a hand partially amputated due to accidents on site.

Asked how many body parts can be replaced today, Newman said the industry now offers support to those with missing limbs. Scientists are working on the inner parts of the human body as the eyes or the heart. "It's [the work] in the very early stages," said Newman.

Exhibition

  • The Arab Health Exhibition and Congress opens on January 25 and will run until January 28.
  • It is the second-largest in the world.
  • Venue is the Dubai International Exhibition Centre.
  • The Congress is a scientific and educational platform for health care professionals.
  • It offers the world's largest multi-track series of conferences providing international accreditation to medical professionals.
  • It will feature over 2,500 exhibitors and 55,000 medical professionals, distributors, dealers and suppliers from 145 countries
  • It will also feature 18 internationally accredited conferences with over 5,000 delegates

Is technology being used efficiently enough to improve the quality of life of special needs persons? Do you know anyone who has benefited from a bionic limb?

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