Three men get bionic hands Milorad Marinkovic shows his bionic arm (AP photos)
Three men get bionic hands
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Three Austrians have replaced their injured hands with bionic ones. They can control the artificial hands by using nerves and muscles. Those were transplanted into their arms from their legs.

The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as "bionic reconstruction." It includes a voluntary amputation. That is the transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand.

Previously, people with bionic hands have primarily controlled them with manual settings.

"This is the first time we have bionically reconstructed a hand," said Dr. Oskar Aszmann of the Medical University of Vienna. He developed the approach with colleagues. "If I saw these kinds of patients five to seven years ago, I would have just shrugged my shoulders and said, 'there's nothing I can do for you.'"

He said while some patients might be candidates for a hand transplant, that has its own complications. They include having to take anti-rejection medicines for the rest of their lives.

Aszmann and colleagues described the cases of the three men in a report. It was published online in the journal Lancet. The men decided on amputation only after having the bionic hand strapped onto their injured hand. They wanted to see how the robotic one might function.

Milorad Marinkovic, 30, lost the use of his right hand in a motorbike accident more than a decade ago. The bionic hand has allowed him to hold things like a sandwich or bottle of water. More importantly, it allows him to play with his three children.

"I can throw things. But it is harder to catch a ball, because my right hand is still not quite as quick and natural (as my left)," said the Vienna based-clerk.

Dr. Simon Kay, who performed Britain's first hand transplant, said there would always be major limits to bionic hands. He pointed out that the brain has thousands of ways to send messages to the human hand. But a robotic prosthetic can't handle such complexity.

"The question is always going to be: How do we get the message from the mind to the metal?" he said.

Patients like Marinkovic, however, have few complaints about the bionic hand. It proved especially popular with his son. When he first got the device, his son, then 4, would put on the bionic hand and proudly walk around with it. He would tell other kids in his kindergarten class that "my father is a robot."

Marinkovic says using his bionic hand is nearly as natural as using his uninjured hand.

"I can do almost everything with it. I just don't have any feeling in it."

Aszmann estimated the new procedure costs around $33,960.

Critical thinking challenge: Explain the meaning of this task: "Getting the message from mind to metal"

Assigned 200 times


COMMENTS (116)
  • APangaro-1
    3/02/2015 - 06:43 p.m.

    Three Austrians have replaced their injured hands with bionic ones. To control this bionic hand, they use nerves and muscles that were transplanted from their legs to their arms. Millard Marinkovic, 30, and one of the three that lost his ability to use his right hand in a motorbike accident. The bionic hand allows him to hold things like sandwiches and water bottles. He said, "I can throw things. But it is harder to catch a ball, because my right hand is still not quite as quick and natural (as my left)." I think that these three men are very lucky to be the first ones to use this bionic hand. It seems to work very well and acts as if it were a real hand.

    • danielh-DiB
      3/03/2015 - 10:36 a.m.

      Its awesome how advanced technology is now. It changed so much in a little bit of time. I wonder what's going to change in the next 15 years

  • BiancaB-3
    3/02/2015 - 07:07 p.m.

    Three men from Austria, have replaced their injured hand with a bionic hand. These three men were both injured in a motorcycle accident. Due to the accident they hurt their right hand. Now that they have a bionic hand on there right arm, they are able to continue doing some of the same things that they did before the accident. I personally believe it was a good idea to get the bionic hand. Only having one hand makes many daily tasks much more difficult than having two hands. Getting the bionic hand was a smart idea that these three men have done.

  • JohnD-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 07:09 p.m.

    I think that this is a very interesting and spictacular even that cost a lot of money to make real. The "getting mind to metal" means that they still need to figure out how to make the thousands of mesages from the mind to the prosthetic arm.

  • CollynR-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 07:11 p.m.

    These is a good story you people need to read it. The people that made this product cost around $33,960 that is a crazy price

  • ChloeJ-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 07:52 p.m.

    I just read a mindblowing article. Three Austria men got bionic hands. They replaced their other hand that was injured with the bionic one. They control the bionic hand with nerves and muscles that were transplanted from their legs into their arms.

  • WarrenG-Cal
    3/02/2015 - 08:49 p.m.

    While, yes, as Dr. Simon Kay pointed out, there will always be problems with bionic limbs because you can't quite connect your brain some man-made machine it just doesn't work that way. And while the study of bionic limbs may help out many people in the future currently the technology is not advanced enough to be completely flawless, at least not yet.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/02/2015 - 08:53 p.m.

    I think that it is cool and creepy at the same time because it will be cool for three men to replace their injured hand to bionic hands, but what is creepy is that the bionic hand needs a real-looking hand glove so if they don't include the glove, it will start to look like a really creepy-looking bionic hand. If they replace the injured hand with a new bionic hand, it could help to move the bionic hand which was replaced from the injured hand.
    Critical thinking challenge: Explain the meaning of this task: "Getting the message from mind to metal"
    Answer: The meaning of the task: "Getting the message from mind to metal is like the nerves are going to be working in the bionic hand while the other nerves work in the arm that isn't injured.

  • JosieW-1
    3/02/2015 - 09:18 p.m.

    The Australian men have replaced their injured armed with new, bionic ones. Previoulsy these bionic arms were controlled manually. Now they are controlled with transplanted human nerves. Milorad Marinkovic, 30, is one of the three men to have this new bionic arm. The arm is supposed to help with everyday habits. Like eating a sandwich or drinking water. But Marinkovic uses it to play with his three kids. I think it is very cool that we are coming up with new technology. I wish I could try one.

  • MailanN-4
    3/02/2015 - 09:25 p.m.

    I think that this is very great how scientists are coming up with revolutionary ideas that are improving life today especially for these men that are the first people to have a bionic hand. this robotic hand has let them do so much that they couldn't before. such as holding a sandwich or water bottle. this proves how In the future injured people will be able to get robotic body parts to replace ones that they have lost.

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