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Mike Swainger in a wheelchair, holding a rugby ball with his prosthetic hand

UK based company RSLSteepler recently released a cutting edge prosthetic hand, the bebionic3. A 33 year old Hull man named Mike Swainger was the first person in the UK to receive the hand through the NHS, and says that his quality of life has gone up dramatically because of it.

The bebionic3 is cited by it’s creators as the most sophisticated prosthetic appendages currently on the market. With independent motors powering every finger, a 45 kilogram (about 100 pounds) maximum load, and 14 pre-programmed grips for different functions (that can be customized via included software package), it is not an empty claim. Better yet, the hand costs much less than prosthetic systems with similar that are currently available, and interfaces with the nervous system in a non-invasive way.

Two electrodes in the prosthetic socket measure nerve activity in his bicep and triceps  respectively. Activity in his bicep tells the hand to close and activity in the triceps opens the grip back up again. Mr. Swainger lost much of his left arm and leg at age 13, after being hit by a train while playing on the tracks with friends. Until now he had only used traditional prosthesis  but his new appendage is a much more sophisticated machine. “I knew what an incredible impact this would have and was desperate for a break,” Mr. Swainger said, “Having a bebionic hand is a complete life-changer.”

close up on bebionic 3 prosthetic hand