The bionic hand, in the lab

One of the more exciting bio-engineering labs in Seattle has to be U.W.’s Neurobotics Lab.  I got a quick tour from Professor Yoky Matsuoka.  She’s been working on the problem of a prosthetic hand that can perform like a real hand.  In the process, she’s found herself “deconstructing” the human hand.  She discovered, for example, that there’s a functional benefit to the way finger bones are shaped (with knuckles that taper, in a non-symetrical way). She also says having five fingers may not be as crucial as paying attention to the way the fingers bend and flex.

Here’s a photo of her with one of their prototypes.  My interview with Matsuoka that aired on KPLU is here.  An extended version of that interview, with about 3 minutes worth that I had to cut out for broadcast, is at this link.

Prof. Yoky Matsuoka and her robotic hand

Prof. Yoky Matsuoka and her robotic hand

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