It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Until a short time ago, being able to tie his shoelaces by himself would have been impossible for Frank Hrabanek, who lost all four fingers on his dominant left hand in an industrial accident. But two months ago, he was fitted with a prosthesis featuring what are being called the world's first bionic fingers.
Myoelectric sensors inside the elbow-high prosthesis pick up nerve signals from contracting arm muscles, setting the motorized digits in motion — just like natural fingers.
"I am doing so many things," said Hrabanek, one of just four Canadians and 30 people worldwide to have the dexterity of their hands restored with ProDigits, a product developed by Touch Bionics Inc.
"I can use a fork and knife for eating. It's no problem," the 60-year-old said with a grin. "I can pull my pants on and my socks, because if you have only one hand you're not able to do it."
His wife, Zlata, calls the bionic fingers "a miracle" that have helped return a sense of independence to Hrabanek, who was virtually helpless after his fingers were trapped inside a 500 C die-cast machine in June 2007.
Crushed and burned, the fingers and the knuckles below had to be amputated, leaving him with a mere stump of a hand and one good thumb.
"Frank was like a little kid after the injury," she said of her husband of 40 years, explaining that he had to have everything done for him.
"Now he can do everything himself — eat, cut the meat. He made my dinner two weeks ago.… He can peel the vegetables."
"It's help for both of us. It's not only help for him."