Federico Ivanissevich talks about a prosthetic hand last month on the campus of Notre Dame. Staff photo by Michael Caterina
Federico Ivanissevich talks about a prosthetic hand last month on the campus of Notre Dame. Staff photo by Michael Caterina
SOUTH BEND — Officials from a tech startup here have developed a prosthetic hand that they say would cost less than those currently on the market and require less training for amputees.

ProstheTech hopes to finish testing its myoelectric prosthetic hand — which works by using existing electrical signals in an amputee's muscles — by the end of this year.

The firm recently received $20,000 from Elevate Ventures, an entrepreneurial development advocacy organization, to finalize its prototype.

In order to reduce the amount of time an amputee has to practice with a prosthetist, Jose Montalvo, the Chief Executive Officer, said ProstheTech's hand will use artificial intelligence technology that will allow the machine to quickly learn how the patient using the hand thinks and how their muscles typically react to stimuli.

As for the materials that'll be used, Montalvo said they're consistent with other prosthetics.

“We’re using the most advanced materials we can find, carbon fiber, 3D printing for the tips of the fingers, a special metal alloy for the junctions of the fingers and the cost is still not that high,” Montalvo said. “I think companies charge a lot for their prosthetics because that’s the norm. It’s a product that you need to live ..., so they can just upcharge it as much as they want, but the materials cost is not that high.”

In addition to the hand’s customizable features, Montalvo said they are also developing software that will allow prosthetists and amputees to plug the hand into a computer for a tutorial on how to use it, which will further simplify the training process.

“We would train the prosthetists on how to repair the hand, but not on how to use it because it will be very simple to use,” Montalvo said.
Copyright © 2019, South Bend Tribune