As anyone with an iPhone can tell you, there is an app for just about everything under the sun. Here on the Magee blog, we have highlighted several apps that are designed to improve the lives of people living with disabilities, such as apps aimed at helping people find accessible restaurants, apps to help people with aphasia communicate, apps to find the closest accessible bathroom and more. Today, we are excited to introduce you to another awesome app: My i-Limb.
This app is designed for people with arm and hand prostheses designed by Touch Bionics. If you have a Touch Bionics prosthesis, this free iPhone app allows you to customize your prosthesis while on the go. The user can instantly access 24 different Quick Grips, and can even create 12 customized grips and gestures. You can create lists of your favorite grips by different activities, such as your favorite grips for home, work, etc. The app also shows you your muscle signals via a real-time graph, and even does a hand health check to make sure your prosthesis is functioning properly.
And yes, it is as cool as it sounds. From TIME magazine:
Aimee Copeland, who lost her hands after a zipline accident in 2012, used to have to visit a registered prosthetist who had access to special software in order to adjust the grips on her hands for different physical activities. Now, with the i-limb bionic hand and its accompanying mobile app, such changes are as simple as booting up her phone or tablet.
“The two things go together,” she says of the hands and the app. “It really allows me to have a greater control over the i-limb instead of having to go the prosthetist to have any tiny thing adjusted.”
Copeland’s hands are developed by Touch Bionics, a Scottish company that specializes in prosthetic limbs. The company launched its app for Apple’s iOS devices in 2013 in order to provide users more mobility. Previously, changing grip settings would have required downloading software to a PC or visiting a prosthetist. Now the company’s app and the hand can communicate wirelessly and quickly via Bluetooth. “We wanted to move it to a more mobile platform,” says Touch Bionics CEO Ian Stevens. “You’re not going to take a PC to a restaurant with you if you want to reprogram the hand.”
Beyond programming the hand itself, users can also place special bluetooth sensors called grip chips around their home or office to shift their hand to different positions when it enters the chip’s proximity—a chip near a sink, for instance, might automatically shift the hand’s grip to effectively grasp a water faucet. The chips can also be programmed by the i-limb mobile app.
Seriously cool! We want to hear from you — have you ever used this app? What other apps have helped you navigate life with a disability? Share in the comments below!