The prosthesis restores more than 90% of function in amputation victims and has won the Compasso d’Oro international award for industrial design
Human limb prostheses are essential for the return to normal of amputation victims. Robotics has made progress in recent years, increasingly refining the features and functionality of prostheses. An example already described by The Patent is a new skin that reproduces the sense of touch. An innovative advanced prosthesis, Hannes, has been presented by the Italian IIT (Italian Institute of Technology) and the Centro Protesi INAIL (the prosthetic unit of the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) Prosthesis Center. Hannes was described on the pages of Science Robotics magazine, earning the issiue’s cover.
The development of an advanced prosthesis began in 2013 and Hannes is the end result of years of investment and research. The name is a tribute to Professor Johannes Schmidl, director of the Prosthetics Center in the 1960s and pioneer of prosthetic technology. Hannes is an anthropomorphic prosthesis that dynamically adapts to the shape of the object to be grasped. Tests with amputee patients have shown that one week of rehabilitation is enough to fully master Hannes’s functions. The patient manages the prosthesis through an electromyographic sensor placed on the arm. The sensor detects the activity of the forearm muscles and transforms them into Hannes’s specific movements.
Futhermore, specific software communicates with the prosthesis via Bluetooth and makes it possible to customize Hannes’ usage parameters, such as precision and speed of movement. The design is unique in the industry and allows the seat to rotate 180°, as well as the mobility of the fingers, including the thumb. Hannes has been awarded the Compasso d’oro prize, the oldest and most prestigious industrial design award in the world. Researchers are now looking for investors and companies to start the process of large-scale production and industrialization, hoping to make Hannes available to as many patients as possible.