Double-amputee Jason Koger used to fly hundreds of miles to visit a clinician when he wanted to adjust the grips on his bionic hands.
Now, he’s got an app.
Koger came to Philadelphia this week to demonstrate the i-limb ultra revolution, a prosthetic developed by the British firm Touch Bionics. Using a stylus and an iPhone, Koger can choose any of 24 grip patterns that best suit his needs.
The previous version of Koger’s myoelectric device required programming by a prosthetist, meaning Koger had to fly to Advanced Arm Dynamics in Dallas. The prosthetist would work with Koger to pick a few grip patterns — such as pinching, pointing or shaking hands — to program into the i-limb.
Yet sometimes Koger would get home and realize they weren't the ones he needed. Now, the latest i-limb comes with iPhone or iPad app that allows Koger to reprogram his hand with the touch of a stylus. On Thursday, he demonstrated by gripping an orange, a baseball and a can of soda.
The i-limb allows fingers and thumbs move independently to conform around certain objects, said Ryan Spill, a prosthetist for Advanced Arm Dynamics' new office in Philadelphia, who is working with Koger. The thumb is also motorized, not passive, as in previous prostheses.