UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Amputees can now buy a bionic hand developed by University of Illinois alumnus Aadeel Akhtar. It’s called the Ability Hand. But it’s not just any bionic hand. It’s durable, light-weight, and capable of feeling touch. It can also connects to your phone via Bluetooth to control its movement and to play music. The creation even weighs lighter than the average human hand.
The Ability Hand was officially launched last week. It’s now commercially available for people in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri and covered under Medicare. However, it will soon be launched nation-wide.
The Ability Hand is the first bionic hand to have sensory capabilities in its fingertips. Not only can you charge it through USB, but you can also charge your phone by plugging into it. On top of all of that – it’s two and a half times faster than other hands on the market.
The hand started as part of Akhtar’s PhD work. Akhtar is the founder of PSYONIC, a company with the purpose of creating affordable and innovative prosthetic pieces. He says he worked on about eight other prototypes before developing it. But he says the idea of the bionic hand was something he thought of when he was seven years old. He was visiting Pakistan, and met an amputee his same age, living in poverty and using a tree branch as crutch. Akhtar says that image stayed in his mind and inspired him to do this research.
While Akhtar was researching for his PhD, he met local veteran and amputee Garrett Anderson. Anderson lost his hand in Iraq in 2005. He is now a user of the Ability Hand and helped Akhtar with his research by taking the hand home and using it for a week and coming back to him with things he thought should change.
The Ability Hand can be ordered in black and red right now. In the future, more colors will be available.