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Artificial Hand Grips Like The Real Thing
Only those who have experienced the transition from a normal, healthy hand to a cold, metal hook can express the frustration involved. So, when amputee Robert Radocy invented a new-style artificial hand, other amputees listened.
Radocy's Prehensile (the ability to reach around something and grasp it) hand has been catching on fast because of its ability to handle both heavy tools and do close-up specialized work.
"The standard hook lacks the gripping strength and durability to with-stand the rigors of farming and ranching. It doesn't have the strength to securely hold tools and lift heavy objects. This makes it dangerous for farmers and ranchers to use," says Radocy.
"The reason standard hooks are weaker is that they're closed when muscles are relaxed, and open when muscles are flexed. The Prehensile Hand, however, relies on the wearer's muscle use for its gripping strength. It's open when muscles are relaxed, and closed when muscles and mind coordination cause it to close. This feature means the upper arm will maintain the muscle tone that is often lost," Radocy explains.
Says Dave Cooper, a Prehensile Hand user from Lyons, Neb.: "My shoulder muscles were atrophying but I felt them shaping up two weeks after I started using my Prehensile Hand. It applies pressure gentle enough to pick up an egg, yet strong enough to lock a big vice grip pliers."
Radocy says most of the interest in his new artificial hand has come from farmers. "Studies have shown that about 60% of below-the-shoulder amputees are farmers," he says. "And farming is one of the most demanding occupations in terms of heavy lifting, and strength in gripping. The Prehensile Hand not only makes it easy to grip and use tools, it facilitates the holding of spheres and cylinders, and gives the amputee confidence to enthusiastically attempt more challenging tasks." Radocy can provide names of farmers who are currently using the Prehensile Hand, upon request.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Therapeutic Recreation Systems, 2860 Pennsylvania Ave., Boulder, Colo. 80303 (ph 303 444-4720).

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #6