Michelangelo Hand

The Michelangelo Hand is a fully articulated robotic hand prosthesis developed by the German prosthetics company Ottobock and its American partner Advanced Arm Dynamics. It is the first prosthesis to feature an electronically actuated thumb which mimics natural human hand movements.[1][2][3] The Michelangelo Hand can be used for a variety of delicate everyday tasks, was first fitted to an Austrian elective-amputee in July 2010[4][5] and has been in use by military and civilian amputees in the United States and United Kingdom since 2011.[2][3][6]

Design and developmentEdit

The Michelangelo Hand's development was begun by the German prosthetics manufacturer Ottobock. In 2008, the American company Advanced Arm Dynamics became involved with testing and further refinement of the prosthesis.[1]

The prosthesis is battery-powered and can be used for up to 20 hours between charges.[2] Constructed of metal and plastic, it is designed with a natural, anthropomorphic aesthetic, and can be custom-fitted for each user. Its motions are controlled by built-in electrodes, which detect the movements of the user's remaining arm muscles and interpret them using electromyography software.[1] The fingers can form numerous naturalistic configurations to hold, grip or pinch objects.[7] The Michelangelo Hand is capable of moving with enough precision to conduct delicate tasks such as cooking, ironing, and opening a toothpaste tube,[1] but can also exert enough strength to use an automobile's steering wheel. Skin-toned cosmetic gloves are also available for the prosthesis.[8] In 2013, the Michelangelo Hand had a unit cost of around £47,000 (US$73,800).[2]


Austrian electrician Patrick Mayrhofer suffered serious injuries to his hands at the age of 20 when he touched a 6000-volt power line in February 2008. After unsuccessful attempts to reconstruct his left hand, it was amputated below the elbow in July 2010[9] and he became the first patient in the world to be fitted with a Michelangelo Hand.[4][5][10][11] He joined Ottobock 3 years later, helping their customers learn to use their prostheses.[12] Having started para-snowboarding in 2012,[5][9] Mayrhofer was named Paralympic Austrian Sports Personality of the Year[10] after winning a gold medal in banked slalom at the 2015 Para-Snowboard World Championships[13] He went on to win the Paralympic silver medal in banked slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics.[14]

Numerous American soldiers who suffered limb amputation in combat have received Michelangelo Hands since 2011. In January 2012, Matt Rezink of Wisconsin became the first American civilian to receive a unit.[6] In January 2013, Chris Taylor, a British service engineer who had lost his right hand in a jet ski accident in 2009, became the first UK citizen to be fitted with a Michelangelo Hand.[2] By 2013, the hand was offered by several British prosthetic services companies, including Dorset Orthopaedic.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Michelangelo Hand". Advanced Arm Dynamics. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Transplant patient receives bionic hand with electronic fingers". The Daily Telegraph. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Indianapolis minister first to get revolutionary prosthetic". WTHR. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b Sruthi Pinnameneni (6 July 2011). "Europe's first bionic hand still going strong a year on". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Patrick Mayrhofer". Ottobock. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Man Receives New Bionic Hand With Electronic Opposable Thumb". Singularity Hub. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  7. ^ Miguelez, John M. (2011). "Clinical Experiences With The Michelangelo Hand, A Four-Year Review". Duke University Libraries. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Michelangelo Hand". Hanger Clinic. 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Athlete Profile — Patrick MAYRHOFER". PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Mayrhofer ist Behindertensportler des Jahres". MeinBezirk.at (in German). 4 November 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  11. ^ Neil Bowdler (18 May 2011). "Bionic hand for 'elective amputation' patient". BBC News Online. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Pilots of the Cybathlon: Patrick Mayrhofer". Cybathlon, ETH Zurich. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  13. ^ "2015 IPCAS Para Snowboard World Championships La Molina: Men's banked slalom SB-UL". International Paralympic Committee. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Medals and Ranking — Men's Banked Slalom SB-UL". PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. 16 March 2018. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Michelangelo Hand by Otto Bock". Dorset Orthopaedic. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.

External linksEdit