Texas Patent of the Month – November 2023

Alt-Bionics, Inc., a medical device company, has been granted a patent for their new approach to prosthetics, bringing modularity and dexterity to new levels.

The company is focused on advancing the prosthetic industry, bringing new technology to the table while making the parts more affordable and accessible. Their current focus is on manufacturing bionic hands for those with below elbow amputations or congenital disorders. Later, the company plans to expand to other areas of prosthetics.

Their modular prosthetic hand system comprises a palm module, featuring a palmar plate and dorsal plate that are separably affixed, creating a framework of knuckle cradles. The ingenuity lies in the plurality of finger modules, each housing a knuckle section, which seamlessly attaches and detaches from the palm module, offering unprecedented flexibility.

The modular prosthetic hand embodies a novel approach, where the surface geometry of each knuckle cradle precisely conforms to the corresponding knuckle section. This intricate design ensures that, when the palmar and dorsal plates are fastened, an interlocking fit constrains movement, providing stability and control. The result is a prosthetic hand that adapts effortlessly to the user’s needs, allowing for easy replacement of defective components without the intricacies associated with traditional repairs.

Each finger module incorporates a proximal and distal phalanx connected by rotary hinge joints. The actuation mechanism, powered by an actuator motor, orchestrates the coordinated movement of these phalanges. The palm module houses electronic control circuitry that governs the actuator motors, creating a seamless integration of technology and functionality.

Alt-Bionics has integrated force sensors into the distal phalanges to measure external forces acting on the prosthetic hand. This sensory feedback is transmitted to the user through a visual indicator, such as an LED ring, cleverly integrated into the palm module. The visual indicator not only informs the user of the strength of external forces but also contributes to the overall aesthetic appeal of the prosthetic hand.

In addition to its modular finger design, Alt-Bionics introduced a wrist module with an electric quick disconnect coupling mechanism, enhancing the ease of use and adaptability of the prosthetic hand. Furthermore, a thumb module featuring a metacarpal section complements the overall design, expanding the scope of this revolutionary prosthetic device.

The Alt-Bionics modular prosthetic hand embodies a fusion of cutting-edge technology and user-centric design, marking a significant leap forward in the realm of prosthetics. As the industry embraces modular innovation, this invention stands as a testament to the transformative power of research and development in improving the lives of amputees.

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