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A woman who lost her arm in a farming accident has shared how a groundbreaking bionic hand has transformed her life.


The technology involves connecting the bionic hand to the user's skeleton and linking it to the nervous system using implanted electrodes in nerves and muscles.

After an accident over 20 years ago, Karin suffered from severe phantom limb pain, where an amputee feels pain or discomfort in a limb that is no longer there.

"I felt like my hand was constantly in a meat grinder, which created a high level of stress, and I had to take large doses of painkillers," she says.

Many people struggle to adapt to conventional prosthetics due to mechanical attachment and reliable limb control issues during prosthetic fitting.

Karin, who for many years found conventional prosthetics uncomfortable and unreliable, was no exception.

However, everything changed when she became the first person with an amputated forearm to receive a new type of "bionic hand" using a "comprehensive surgical and engineering approach," according to Professor Max Ortiz Catalan, head of neuroprosthetics research at the Institute of Bionics in Australia and founder of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research (CBPR) in Sweden, which led the research.

"For me, this research means a lot because it has allowed me to live better," says Karin, adding that she now has better control of her prosthesis. "But above all, my pain has decreased. Today, I need much less medication."

This transformation in Karin's life was made possible by a unique technology that allows the user's skeleton to be connected to the bionic hand through osseointegration, where the implant becomes part of the bone rather than a foreign object.

The implant serves as a permanent attachment for the prosthesis, which can then be easily attached and removed.

A team of engineers and surgeons led by Catalan developed an interface that also provides electrical connection to the user's nervous system using electrodes implanted in specific nerves and muscles.

"Karin became the first person with an amputated forearm to receive this new concept of highly integrated bionic hand that can be used independently and reliably in everyday life," Catalan explained. "The fact that she has been able to comfortably and effectively use her prosthesis in everyday life for many years is a promising testament to the potential of this new technology to change the lives of people facing limb loss."

The professor added that the "integrated surgical and engineering approach" also helped reduce Karin's pain levels, as she now uses the same neural resources to control the prosthesis as she did with her biological hand.

The bionic hand itself is developed by the Italian robotics company Prensilia and is called the Mia Hand. It comes equipped with unique motor and sensory components that allow the user to perform approximately 80% of everyday actions.

"Acceptance of the prosthesis is crucial for its successful use," says Professor Francesco Clemente, CEO of Prensilia. "In addition to technical characteristics, Prensilia has tried to develop a hand that can be fully adapted aesthetically. Mia Hand was born to be shown off, not hidden. We wanted users to be proud of what they have, not ashamed of what they lost."