Come on! Aren't there some lives to save somewhere? Homeless to help? Limbs for the limbless? There must be some better use of time and money than gadgety prosthetic technology for the sake of "look what we did" science.
With two steely hooks for hands - the amputee world's version of Cool Hand Luke - I just don't see the value in being able to enjoy the sensation of burning my fingers or freezing my thumbs off.
The mechanics of prosthetic hands have advanced tremendously over the past decades and that's great - lighter, stronger, faster. And now touchy, feely?
Researchers in Switzerland have developed new technology that actually transmits what the fingers of a prosthesis are sensing... with a simple implanting of electrodes in a Danish patient's good arm. While blindfolded, my fellow arm amputee was able to feel shapes on his prosthetic hand. Fun party trick but practical for what? Well, unless your blind. That makes more sense. Well, unless you are blind and missing both hands! Now it's starting to make sense. And that would be maybe a handful of people in this whole wide world.
I'm a great two-fingered bee catcher and bonfire log turner (no fire poker needed). No gloves in the winter or oven mitts in the kitchen. Wonder how that feels?
Watch the video of the feeling hand in action at www.disabilitytodaynetwork.com/news.
- Jeff Tiessen