iPhone, iPad App Programs i-limb Prosthetic Using 24 Grip Patterns (VIDEO)

A revolutionary prosthetic comes with an app for iPhone and iPad that can program grip patterns in a bionic hand and change the way amputees manage their prosthetic limbs. Instead of getting limbs adjusted by a prosthetist, patients can customize the settings of their own prosthetics with their smartphones.

Developed by a UK-based company called Touch Bionics, the i-limb can be programmed using an iPhone app that contains 24 additional grip patterns to choose from. The closest thing to a human hand, this is a much-needed technology evolution for amputees. For double amputee Jason Koger, 34, the i-limb ultra revolution prosthetic couldn't have arrived any sooner. His new prosthetic comes with a full rotatable thumb and five individually powered fingers and Koger is the first recipient of the i-limb ultra prosthetic hands. Prior to the i-limb ultra revolution and app, when he wanted the grips on his prosthetic hands adjusted, he'd have to book a flight to travel hundreds of miles.

Koger, an Owensboro, Ky. resident, a married father of three, lost his hands in 2008 in an all-terrain-vehicle accident when he ran into a downed power line and was electrocuted. Koger's myoelectric hands offer precise movements, reacting to electrical impulses from muscles in the remaining parts of his arms. His first myoelectric i-limb had to be programmed by a prosthetist located in Dallas at Advanced Arm Dynamics. The prothetist and Koger would choose grip patterns for functions including pinching, pointing or shaking hands. Koger would realize later on when he got back home, that some of the programs were not the ones that he needed.

This new app lets Koger self-manage his prosthetics, allowing him to perform more daily functions.

"Five years ago, I couldn't pull my pants up by myself. Today, I go hunting and do some of the things that I probably never imagined I could have done five years ago," Koger said.

As AP reported, the new i-limb prosthetic with app technology benefits a wide range of patients, including those injured in the military to victims who lost their limbs as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing. The field of prosthetics is changing at a rapid pace. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused an increase in government research in the prosthetics field, which has resulted in some of the new advances.

"The changes are happening rather rapidly now and I think it's because of our wars overseas. The government is trying to put more money into research and development," Assistant Director of Orthotic and Prosthetic Services at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation Joe Reda said.

Koger recently met with other amputees who were interested in the i-limb ultra revolution. Koger was also featured on CNN, where he talked about the i-limb and demonstrated how it works. For more information about the i-limb ultra, visit Advanced Arm Dynamics. 

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