Skip to navigationSkip to content

Photos: Watch a teen control his prosthetic hand with an iPhone app

I-Limb Ultra Revolution
Getty Images/Jeff J. Mitchell
This prosthetic is controlled by a mobile app
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Patrick Kane was nine months old when he lost part of his left arm and right leg to meningitis. Now 16, he’s the first person in the UK to wear the world’s most advanced bionic hand.

Patrick has been using earlier versions of Touch Bionic’s prosthetic hands for more than two years now, but his new one incorporates an entirely new functionality: It can be controlled with a mobile phone app.

By tapping the screen, Patrick can trigger one of 24 different grips, each of which he can store as a favorite for daily needs like typing or holding objects. If he’s at a loss for how to access certain features, there’s a training feature to learn the latest of i-limb’s capabilities. Patrick can even check the health of his prosthetic hand with the app’s diagnostic feature.

There is one downside to Touch Bionic’s newly released “i-limb ultra revolution,” however. As the name not so subtly suggests, the mobile app is only downloadable on Apple’s iPhone. Fortunately for Patrick, he owns one, too.

Getty Images/Jeff J Mitchell
Improved thumb movement means Patrick can easily hold coins and other small objects.
Getty Images/Jeff J Mitchell
Or a glass.
Getty Images/Jeff J Mitchell
Whether he chooses to use the mobile app or not is up to him; the i-limb also responds to muscle contractions.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.