I am proud to have designed the first functional artificial finger for amputees; called X-Fingers. These simple yet effective tools enable finger amputees to control the movement of each replaced phalange. The devices move as quickly as real fingers restoring considerable strength and dexterity. The devices are body-powered and no batteries or motors are needed; allowing for uninterrupted use. The devices replace 1-10 missing fingers lost at any length. Furthermore, no surgeries are needed and the devices are as easy to apply and remove as a glove. Once applied, a supple cosmetic cover fits over the assembly for added realism.
Approximately 94% of all non-fatal amputations involve fingers. More than one in every two hundred people will lose one or several fingers in their lifetime. Until the X-Finger the only form of prosthetic rehabilitation available for finger amputees were cosmetic silicone replacements. Although these silicone fingers look realistic they do not bend or function in any way. X-Fingers operate by the movement of the user’s remnant finger. If someone loses an entire finger, an opposing finger controls the artificial fingers movement. When all of the fingers are missing, the movement of the palm controls the movement of all missing fingers.
While many of us have seen robotic-like artificial fingers moving on prosthetic limbs, these moving fingers were always attached to an artificial hand. Therefore, if someone loses one or several fingers, but still has their palm intact, an artificial hand cannot be used. X-Fingers replace a portion of any missing fingers or fingers in their entirety.
X-Fingers are the only functional artificial fingers that replace missing fingers for partial and full finger amputees. Furthermore, every major insurance carrier in the US has validated the medical necessity of X-Fingers by covering their cost. The devices are FDA registered and CE Marked under the Medical Device Directive.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates that individuals with limited use of their hands earn approximately half of those with full use of their hands. For the first time, finger amputees are able to continue forward in their chosen profession. We also rehabilitate wounded US soldiers and have recently begun rehabilitating wounded British Soldiers as well.
After developing the X-Finger I was contacted by the US Department of Defense to develop a functional thumb. I have since completed two designs; one for individuals with a portion of their thumb remaining and one for individuals whose thumbs are entirely missing. I then completed a distal fingertip design that enables individuals missing the distal phalange the restore complete control of the articulation of the replaced phalange. Any configuration of these devices can be combined for full rehabilitation depending on each user’s specific needs. In all, more than 500 configurations of assemblies can be fabricated using an interchangeable series of components I designed.
I am proud to have developed the first functional artificial fingers for amputees and for having this opportunity to compete in the Create the Future Design Contest. Thank you for reading my submission.