It looks like Touch Bionics
is bringing the classic "try before you buy" racket to the world of bionic hands. Say hello to the Virtu-LIMB, a simulation and training setup for myoelectric upper limb prostheses. This little yellow dome tethers to a patient's arm and transmits their myoelectric signals to a nearby computer via Bluetooth -- the data is then used to either control an i-LIMB Ultra prosthetic hand or, failing that, a PC simulation of one. The rig was shown at the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association National Assembly this week, and can be used to help clinicians fine-tune prostheses for their patients, train patients to manipulate their bionic digits, or even demonstrate the Touch Bionics' i-LIMB to a potential user. The i-LIMB Ultra itself is an upgraded replacement for the outfit's i-LIMB Pulse
, featuring a new variable digit-by-digit grip mode, increased flexibility, extended battery life (and low battery audio warning), and the ability to create custom gestures. The new unit even returns to a natural resting state after a period of inactivity, keeping the devil out of your idle hands.