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Infinite Biomedical Technologies Releases HF Version of RFID-Enabled Prosthetic Hand With Locking Capability

The company has developed the morph2 to be a smaller, lighter version of its predecessor, enabling wearers to identify an object and adjust the hand's grip accordingly.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 06, 2017

Infinite Biomedical Technologies, a Baltimore prosthetic technology company, has released a new version of its morph (Myoelectrically Operated RFID Prosthetic Hand) prosthesis that enables individuals with prosthetic hands to automate their movements with the help of radio frequency identification.

The morph2 brings a new frequency to the technology—high-frequency (HF) rather than low-frequency (LF)—which the company says enables faster transmission, a smaller, lighter design and new functionality. A new, lower-cost alternative to the morph2—known as morph lock—can be locked in place with the tap of an RFID tag against the prosthetic's built-in reader, says Martin Vilarino, Infinite Biomedical Technologies' engineering project manager. "This way," he explains, "the user can grab a delicate object [such as a beverage], lock the prosthesis, and carry on without having to worry about accidentally opening the hand and dropping the object."

A prosthesis with a morph2 lock, holding a glass
Infinite Biomedical Technologies first developed the morph to make prostheses more intuitive for those using the device to pick up objects or perform other tasks (see RFID Helps Amputees Manipulate Prosthetic Hands).

Martin Vilarino
Launched in 2013, the system consisted of a battery-operated RFID reader built into the prosthetic hand's wrist, with tags attached to objects that individuals encountered during their day, such as glasses, jars or keyboards. Morph software, residing on the device, interpreted each tag read, identifying all objects with which a reader was coming into contact, and adjusted the fingers of the hand accordingly, explains Rahul Kaliki, the company's CEO. Since the device was released, the firm has been working with prosthetic users to make the technology more comfortable to wear and more effective to use.

Prostheses can be operated in a few ways. One version, known as electromyography (EMG), uses electrodes to detect and then convert muscle movements to electrical signals that can open and close a hand or vary a grip. However, not everyone can operate the prosthesis properly with the sensor, the company reports—for instance, there may be no suitable location on a person's arm at which electrodes can be fitted to measure muscle movements. In other cases, users must press a button on the prosthesis to switch modes, such as the gripping function—and that is where morph technology provides an added benefit. The system instructs the prosthesis to adjust to the necessary position without requiring directions from the user.

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