Bionic i-LIMB Hand and Innovative Interface System Increase Amputee's Functionality and Confidence
Revolutionary new prosthetic technology has made life easier and more fulfilling for a California woman who is an upper extremity amputee. Telisa Boston was recently fit with the most advanced non-surgical upper extremity prosthetic solution commercially available – Touch Bionics' i-LIMB(tm) Hand, the world's first fully-articulating and commercially-available bionic hand, coupled with the innovative selective compression-stabilization interface system created by Randall Alley, CEO and chief prosthetist of biodesigns.
Biodesigns, inc., a high-performance prosthetic facility specializing in technologically-advanced upper and lower extremity care, recently evaluated Boston and determined she was a candidate for this revolutionary myoelectric solution.
Boston, who lost her right arm at the age of 16 to a rare tumor, previously only wore a cosmetic or passive prosthesis and was in need of a more functional solution to better handle her duties as a highly-visible public relations and sales professional for a cosmetic dental company. In her position, she coordinates media events and works with the public at industry trade shows but is also required to assist with booth set-up and lift packages weighing up to 50 pounds. Boston works on a computer daily, and her job performance was hindered by the inability to use two hands while typing.
Alley, both a licensed and board certified prosthetist, has specialized in upper extremity prosthetic care for over 16 years, and knew the revolutionary i-LIMB Hand and his new interface system would enable her to accomplish her goals at work and encourage her to more actively use her right arm.
"Telisa unfortunately suffers from severe carpal tunnel syndrome on her biological hand because it performs all activities requiring grip, due in large part to the lack of active prehension provided by her cosmetic prosthesis. However, with the improved functionality of the i-LIMB she will more easily perform bimanual activities, alleviating much of the stress on her left hand," Alley said.
The i-LIMB Hand is a breakthrough for upper extremity prosthetics. Its five individually-powered digits provide Boston with a new level of dexterity, allowing her hand to open and close around objects more naturally and securely because they conform to the shape of the object. Now she can easily perform daily tasks such as typing on a keyboard, carrying products at a trade show, and creating presentations.
"My new arm is the best thing to happen to me!" Boston said. "Words cannot describe this renewed feeling of independence that I have. Having lost my arm at such a young age, I was never able to do the simplest of things without assistance, like tying my shoes or holding my purse. I can't wait to go shopping; usually I need someone to help me carry my bags while I look around or I would have to leave the bags on the floor. Now I can shop and carry on my own! You get so used to modifying the way you do things, I sometimes forget that I can do things normally, or at least like I used to. I feel free."
Boston will also be receiving a custom silicone covering for the prosthetic system, creating an extremely natural appearance which closely mimics her biological arm and hand, boosting Boston's confidence in a professional setting. The covering will be hand-painted by a specially trained artist.
Alley's selective compression-stabilization system is a biomechanical breakthrough in prosthetic interface design. It offers superior stability, comfort, feedback and efficiency of movement, and is the interface foundation for DEKA Research's "Luke Arm Project," funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The Alley interface system is set to undergo clinical trials in concert with the Luke Arm and will establish new benchmarks in upper and lower extremity prosthetic and orthotic comfort and performance.
"Randy's expert knowledge of upper extremity prosthetics has truly been useful in that he has helped me to fully realize the magnitude of things I can do again with this bionic hand," said Boston. "None of the other prosthetists I have worked with specialized in upper extremity prosthetics. Most work on lower extremities and help upper extremity amputees from time to time. Randy is the expert on arm prosthetics, and it truly makes a difference."
With her new i-LIMB Hand and sophisticated interface, Boston is better able to communicate and interact with associates using hand gestures and has improved her work performance since she was fitted. She now feels assured that audiences are focusing on her message, presentation and physical demeanor, instead of her physical challenges.