Special touch

British scientists have developed an artificial hand that is as deft at handling objects as a real one. Homer Rahnejat and Russel Speight of the Bradford University in northern England, in association with Medi Mehdian of the Greenwich University, London, have constructed a prototype hand that has 16 degrees of freedom, enabling it to move as well as a human hand.

Says Rahnejat, "We hope to design a neuro-synthesiser that can convey signals to the artificial hand in a form it can interpret mechanically, so that the wearer of the hand has only to think of the action he wants to perform."